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Video Games Top Treatment for Dyslexia, Say Researchers


By | Plugged In – Tue, Mar 5, 2013 18:44 GMT


Most people think video games and reading don’t mix, but it turns out a little Halo here and there might actually be effective in treating dyslexia.


So says a group of neurologists from Italy’s University of Padua, who found a correlation between a dyslexic child’s visual attention span and their ability to read. The results of their study, published in the most recent edition of Current Biology, indicate that playing video games for just 12 hours is more beneficial than a full year of intense therapy.


Not just any game will do, though. To get the most benefits from a console, scientists say the game must be fast-paced, with action games being ideal.


Perhaps even more startling was the finding that the improvements were not just short term, but had lasting effects that still outshined traditional therapy.


“We tested reading, phonological, and attentional skills in two matched groups of children with dyslexia before and after they played action or nonaction video games for nine sessions of 80 min per day,” the authors said. “We found that only playing action video games improved children’s reading speed, without any cost in accuracy, more so than 1 year of reading development and more than or equal to highly demanding traditional reading treatments. Attentional skills also improved during action video game training.”


Researchers studied two groups of 10-year olds: one playing action games and one playing slower-paced titles. Those who picked up the faster-paced games showed a general reading improvement of up to 40 percent, cutting their reading speed almost in half. Players of non-action games showed no noticeable improvement.


“Our findings – supported by results showing that attention can be studied and efficiently trained during infancy – pave the way for low-resource-demanding early prevention programs that could drastically reduce the incident of reading disorders,” wrote researchers.


Roughly 10 percent of all children suffer from some form of dyslexia. The cause of the disorder is still unknown, but current treatments require significant resources.


A positive link between gaming and reading isn’t without precedent. Several studies have linked gaming with improved eyesight and increased focus. In 2007 a professor at the University of Connecticut made waves by using Halo to help teach classic literature.


The doctors behind the study note that more research is required into the benefits of gaming for dyslexic patients, but this could open the door for a low-cost way of reducing reading disorders. Sounds like a lot more fun, too.



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“I was hopeless at high school – I failed everything but Latin.” – Keanu “To perform Shakespeare you get to say very profound words and in the body it feels more thrilling. Your spirit, your intellect, your heart and your voice. I have to say I prefer Shakespeare to the action stuff.” – Keanu Reeves, quotes

Q: “When you were in high school, did you already have ambitions to get into acting?”

A: “Not really. I wanted to be a hockey player long before I ever thought of being an actor. I was pretty shy as a child. I didn’t feel confident unless I was on the ice. I just did a few jobs for TV commercials to earn extra money for myself.” – Reeves.
Q: How did you deal with high school?”
A: “I tried to avoid it as much as possible. Growing up, I had a lot of trouble reading (Reeves suffers from dyslexia – ED), and so I wasn’t a good student at all. Eventually I got fed up and I didn’t bother to finish high school. I thought it was a waste of time – at least for me it was.” – Reeves.
Q: Did you feel like an outsider?”
A: “In a way, I guess. I always felt a bit alone and isolated from other people….I did a lot of pretending as a child. It was my way of coping with the fact that I didn’t really feel like I fit in. But when I was 15, I started doing some acting and I got hooked because it was like hockey in that it allowed me to be somebody different. In acting, you can feel the sense of being part of an ensemble, a team. it’s the same thing with sports. I loved the feeling of playing hockey and helping my team win. There’s an acceptance that comes with team sports.” – Reeves



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Robin Williams – famous dyslexic


Quick talking, wise cracking Robin Williams was once a shy little boy just trying to blend in at school. It was not until he joined his high school drama department that he found his inner funny man.

What’s right is what’s left if you do everything else wrong.

Today his name is a household word, synonymous with funny. Depending on one’s age, he might be Mork, Mrs. Doubtfire or the Dad. But not matter who he is, he is always funny.

You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.

When he does the stand up comedy that made him famous, he works without a script so as not to have to struggle with reading while on stage. He has done a number of comedy tours with the USO and sees laughter as a weapon.

Oh, big time. It’s a great defense, and an offense too. Usually the recipient isn’t too happy about it, but the people around are laughing.


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  • Research Reveals Drug Abuse Link to Dyslexia – Drug abusers are ten times more likely than the overall population to suffer from dyslexia, a study by Stirling University shows. Of the addicts studied, 40% were dyslexic, compared with about 4% of the total population of Scotland … In recent survey of addiction workers, Mr Yates found that 82% of respondents said between a quarter and a half of their clients had reading difficulties, with 89% indicating they thought these difficulties were a barrier to recovery … The Stirling University study involved assessing the dyslexia of 50 participants.
  • 21% of prison inmates are dyslexic – A recent study of 357 UK prisoners by Dr John Rach of Dyslexia Action found that 21% of them were dyslexic, and 38% of them suffered from some form of disability.


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Most children with dyslexia are very talented, but if not addressed effectively, dyslexia often creates a gap between aptitude and achievement… Julie