Date of Award

8-1-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Chair

Ronald Styron

Committee Chair Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Member 2

James T. Johnson

Committee Member 2 Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Member 3

Rose McNeese

Committee Member 3 Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Member 4

Gaylynn Parker

Committee Member 4 Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Abstract

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and its effects on student academic achievement have been researched for many years. There have been many interventions that have been used in treating ADHD that have been found successful when implemented consistently. Some of the interventions that have been researched in the past are behavior modification, pharmacotherapy with stimulants, educational interventions, and a combination of these. Play Attention is an intervention that incorporates aspects of behavior modification through computerized cognitive-training, which utilizes feedback-based technology. Through Play Attention, students wear a helmet or armband embedded with sensors. These sensors read students’ brain activity in order to monitor their levels of focus. It helps students develop skills in attention stamina, short-term memory, hand-eye coordination, discriminatory processing, and time on task, thereby altering their inattentive behavior. Play Attention allows students to create their own knowledge and meaning of inattentiveness by making inattention visible through the different games of the program, thereby allowing students to improve on these weak skills. This new knowledge is analyzed through a journal that students complete after each session of play. Furthermore, it allows students to work in their own zone of proximal development by differentiating the games and levels that are controlled by a coach who works with students during game play.

This study did not show significant results in the use of Play Attention to help students with ADHD increase their academic achievement. Although there were some interesting results in terms of achievement on gender that were unexpected, these results were not significant in terms of boys being affected more than girls in increased achievement. The limitation of time hindered the analysis of the results of this study, and further research would need to be conducted during a longer time period to understand if this program can give significant results.

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