Duke grad creates video game to help children pay attention


DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — If your children have trouble paying attention, you may think the last thing they need is to play more video games, but one particular game is actually designed to help kids focus.

The game is called NeuroPlus.

Like many middle school students, Brooke Pena and her twin brother Blair like the sounds, the graphics and the challenge of a good video game, and the NeuroPlus game is no different.

“It’s just basically trying to hit dragons,” said Brooke.

But this game isn’t just about having fun. It’s designed to help people focus and pay attention.

Duke graduate, Jake Stauch created NeuroPlus.

“Kids wear a headset that measures the brain activity and their body movements,” he explained.

“The more they’re able to focus, the better they’re able to control themselves,  the better they do in the game,” Stauch said.

A few hundred families are currently using it.  Stauch says a clinical study conducted over the summer shows promising results.

“They made dramatic improvement in their ability to pay attention, reduction in hyperactivity and impulsivity, and improvements in other areas as well,” he said.

Brooke and Blair who have both been diagnosed with ADHD say it’s easier to focus since playing the game regularly.

“Before, I couldn’t really pay attention and now I can,” said Blair.

The twins’ mother, Perquita Pena added, “Even now they’ve started school their grades are drastically different from how they compared last year.”

Stauch emphasized that the game is not specifically targeted toward kids with ADHD, but said a number of the games’ users have been diagnosed.

“A lot of kids with ADHD are our customers and our users and they benefit from this.  It’s not targeted toward any individual learning disability or cognitive issue.  All kids can benefit from training their attention and improving their self-control,” Stauch said.

The kids say the best part is they just feel like they’re playing a game.

“I feel like it’s a regular video game more than learning,” said Brooke.

“It’s actually really fun to do,” Blair added.

The headsets cost $299 plus software is $30 a month or $180 per year.

The creators of NeuroPlus are currently working on a new game.

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