Can Video Games Help Alleviate Dyslexia?

A recent study out of the University of Padua in Italy found some interesting findings on the results that video games have on those with dyslexia.  The study, although very small, found that participants with dyslexia had their reading speeds increased after sessions of playing action-based video games. This begs the question: Can video games help kids with dyslexia improve their reading ability?

The Study: A research group at the University of Padua measured the improvements in reading scores of 20 kids with dyslexia after playing video games. One group had nine 80 minute sessions of playing an action-based video games, while the other group had nine 80-minute sessions of playing a non-action based video games. Essentially, one group played something akin to Sonic and one group played something akin to Professor Layton

Stay away from my dyslexic kids LAYTON!

The Results:

The study found that the kids who played action-based video games had their reading speeds increase moreso than those who played the non-action-based video game. Likewise, the scores outpaced the normal improvements children with dyslexia naturally gain over the course of a year. Thus, there seems to some evidence to suggest that playing action-based games that require a lot of shifting of attention may help kids with dyslexia improving their reading speed.

It can’t just be Krato’s menacing stare that is causing these improvements with action-based video games and not others. The researchers suggest that action-based video games hone visual attention skills, which are lacking in children with dyslexia. Action-based video games help hone these skills by constantly making the player shift their attention and focus in game. This could mean that children with dyslexia can actually benefit from scheduled playtime with games that are more action based. An issue for many parents with kids with dyslexia, the article points out, has been keeping their children’s interest in the programs meant to help alleviate dyslexia, an issue video games typically don’t have with kids.

Obviously more study will have to be done on this issue before anyone can call it definitive evidence, but it is interesting to say the least. I would be interested to see how video games rank in helping dyslexia compared to the gains found in organized programs, if such results are found. But who knows, maybe this is something parents with kids with dyslexia look into- they’ll be playing video games already most likely, so why not choose something a little more action based like Sonic or Mario Kart

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2 Responses to Can Video Games Help Alleviate Dyslexia?

  1. MJ says:

    Interesting study. My oldest daughter is dyslexic, and she actually loves games like Professor Layton. But she also loves Oblivion, Left 4 Dead, and first-person shooter games that she plays with her older brother.

    She’s 15 and reads on her own now. Long story short: public school wasn’t doing their job and didn’t want to, so I pulled her out to homeschool her. I worked with her and taught her the ways in which she learned best and piqued her interest. Now she reads all her schoolwork on her own and reads at her age’s reading level. Who knows? The video games could’ve helped! 🙂

    • ianrl1989 says:

      Yeah, it’s a very interesting study. Video games in general probably help with reading skills overall, as many games push kids to read in game text and solve puzzles. Thanks for the insight and personal story!

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