When I first found out about PLAY ATTENTION, I just turned 61 years old & had spent the previous 15 years (since being diagnosed in 2001) going thru books, counselors, EEG-feedback, coaching, & online programs / “therapy games” to address my issues enough to provide hopefulness that I’d be able to get a handle enough to operate in the “real world”, as a house-husband / cook /pet owner[2 dogs]/ & guitarist in community ensembles. After only limited & temporary benefits from those resources, I decided to try the PLAY ATTENTION program, especially after learning about the technological improvements over the previous neurofeedback sensors. It was gratifying to find out that the learning paradigms involved in the PA games, were effective in acquiring the coping skills that I needed to make my different “hats” much more easily worn, after more than 4 decades of undiagnosed ADD.
From the start of my sessions, I quickly realized how the attention ‘muscle’ could actually be consciously improved & strengthened, by games like ATTENTION STAMINA & TIME ON TASK. Also, I recognized how the adrenaline needed for higher scores was actually lessened, due to the games’ designs. As a result, I learned that ‘cool vigilance’ was a desirable attribute to train for, in order to succeed at the PA games, as well as in real life. Other games such as DISCRIMINATORY PROCESSING, SHORT TERM MEMORY, & WORKING MEMORY showed & developed the aspect of resilience in my thought processes, I believe, in useful ways for my real-life situations, to be able to shorten—& better deal with— anxious & depressive periods in the last year—probably the most useful trait that I acquired over the last year of PA sessions.
After about 3 months of my own program with steady PA games [about 12 per week], I then introduced the games to my next door neighbor’s 15 year old son, who had been in special education classes since kindergarten, after being diagnosed with Autism. In the previous years, Bryan was used to having his way in a lot of respects, being an only child with special needs. After seeing him grow from the age of 4, & getting to know him from my daughter’s babysitting him, & my recent trips with him to Sunday service at the Rock Church, I thought he would be a good candidate for PA games, during his afterschool period 3-4x per week. And after an initial period of drudgery & , Bryan began to get into a ‘comfort zone’ with the PA sessions, & soon began to score consistently high scores in certain games, accompanied by a more improved spirit of cooperation & acquiescence in everyday life, with relationships & social situations.
Because of a major transition in his family, Bryan was faced with the prospect of relocating to another state & high school. So I requested that he be allowed to spend the last 2&1/2 months in my home, so that he could at least finish his sophomore Spring semester with familiar friends & school staff. Because of the increased time available, I was able to increase his PA sessions to 10-12 games per week, to which he quickly adjusted to, & easily adjusted to 2 new weekly social groups with new learned skills about how to keep eye contact & show respect & interest with others in new social situations, & was noticed by his mom to be able to engage with others in appropriate ways, for longer periods of time [largely due to his success with the SOCIAL SKILLS exercise in PA weekly sessions]. Bryan was also able to be more comfortable in not having to incessantly use his digital toys & devices, & demonstrated more relaxed decision-making, as opposed to his frenetic indecisiveness that would surface regularly, especially during transitions & encountering new environments. The games that I believed helped him to create that kind of self-empowerment were the same that I used to improve my own productivity with my personal life & music projects [games mentioned above] as well as the ACADEMIC BRIDGE program that helped me to focus better with learning new pieces of music (along with HAND-EYE COORDINATION) as well as helping to accomplish emails & to-do lists in a more time-efficient manner. The ACADEMIC BRIDGE Program also aided Bryan in readings & other homework assignments as well, serving as a connection to the Attention ‘muscle’ to identify & feedback to Bryan as he read textbooks & watched educational videos that weren’t especially exciting to watch.
The ACADEMIC BRIDGE program also has proven invaluable to me, when I use it during menial tasks such as clearing my desk, doing guitar exercises, filling out my datebook calendar, & returning emails. I have confidence that it will continue to provide a ‘touchstone’ to confidently allow me to know how to stay mentally active throughout my ‘golden’ years.