Visit StickyLock

VR Therapy Improves ADHD Kids’ Cognitive Performance

Children with ADHD Perform Better Cognitively with VR

According to this 2023 research, immersive virtual reality-based therapies improve cognitive function without causing negative effects, making them a useful therapy choice for youngsters with ADHD.

A 2023 research published in the journal Virtual Reality found that children with cognitive deficiencies related to ADHD may benefit from immersive virtual reality-based therapies (VR). When using immersive VR therapy, children with ADHD saw improvements in global cognitive functioning, attention, memory, and global cognitive functioning with larger effect sizes than those in active and passive control groups.

Seven randomised controlled trials (RCTs) were meta-analysed, with 149 subjects placed in the immersive VR group and 172 in the control group. The immersive VR group exhibited a statistically significant improvement in attention (g = 0.94) and global cognition (g = 1.06), according to the research. Memory outcomes were only evaluated in one RCT, but similar to attention and global cognition, the VR group demonstrated a substantial benefit (g = 1.81).

Children who had not had any prior treatment for ADHD showed significant improvements.

The usage of virtual reality in healthcare is growing, and physicians have given it excellent reviews. Patients report that VR and other cognitive technologies, often referred to as “brain training,” are helpful in reducing the symptoms of ADHD. Adults with ADHD and carers rated brain training as one of the top three most successful ADHD treatment choices in ADDitude’s 2024 treatment survey.

XRHealth produces a virtual reality (VR) therapy for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In A User’s Guide to Digital Therapeutics for ADHD, Randy Kulman, Ph.D. suggests that one app that helps kids with ADHD is a boxing-like game. Players in this game are in charge of deciding which impulses to follow through on, which to ignore, and which to hit.

The researchers suggest that VR-based therapies might be beneficial in the classroom as well. VR-based therapies for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may help them operate better socially and academically, which in turn enhances their academic achievement and peer connections.

However, among the therapy methods that ADDitude survey participants used the least was brain training. Only 6% of carers and individuals who surveyed more than 12,000 said they had themselves or their child’s ADHD treated with it. Implementation obstacles have included a lack of awareness of the benefits of virtual reality (VR) and a failure to tailor treatment plans to the specific requirements of each patient. The largest overall obstacle to treatment, according to survey participants, was getting access to healthcare professionals who have treated ADHD.

In order to find possible modifiers of the impact size of global cognitive functioning, researchers conducted a second meta-analysis. I2 = 71.23 percent indicated considerable substantial heterogeneity in this study. All participant ages and intervention durations showed improvements in global cognition, independent of the kind of headset (new vs. old), formality of diagnosis, or active vs passive control group intervention. Heterogeneity was also considerable (I2 = 68.26%) for moderators of attention alone, which were not evaluated in this research.

There is disagreement on the impact of moderators on immersive VR-based results. The researchers pointed out that studies have shown that lengthier treatments, younger participants, and passive control groups may result in different results. It would be beneficial to carry out follow-up evaluations to see if virtual reality treatments have long-term benefits and whether the improvements in cognitive functioning that participants experience between the start of the intervention and its conclusion are maintained.

The first study to examine treatment adherence and immersive VR safety in addressing cognitive impairments in children with ADHD was the systematic review and meta-analysis. There were no negative impacts, and drop-out rates were comparable to control groups in every category. Immersion VR was determined to be suitable in terms of therapeutic compliance and a useful tool for cognitive therapy.

For the present investigation, a thorough literature search was carried out in accordance with the Cochrane Handbook and PRISMA standards, and improvements were shown even after accounting for publication bias. However, based on randomisation and selective reporting, all of the few included studies were found to have an uncertain risk of bias. When evaluating the results, extreme care is required.

Interventions used in the control group included waiting list placement, medicine, psychotherapy, cognitive training, neurofeedback, hemoencephalographic biofeedback, and non-immersive virtual reality. For a VR-based intervention to be classified as immersive, head-mounted displays have to be used.

Join the Discussion

Visit StickyLock
Back to top