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Training Attention after Brain Injury in Children

Research project
Three children drawing on paper

The Monash School of Psychological Sciences, together with MCRI, are interested in understanding whether a game-based attention training program can strengthen attention in children who have experienced an acquired brain injury (ABI). 

What is an acquired brain injury? 

An acquired brain injury can have a big impact on the way a person thinks, feels and behaves. The term describes any type of brain injury that happens after birth, and includes damage due to infection, tumours, stroke, lack of oxygen or trauma. It is estimated that as many as 20% of children with an ABI will go on to develop clinically significant attention deficits.

What is the study about?

Attention problems are a common feature of ABI and can have far-reaching consequences for learning, social relationships, and behaviour in childhood. Therefore, finding effective early interventions that can help improve attention is key to improving overall outcomes for children with ABI.

Rehabilitation using intensive computerised therapy offers the potential to help recovery and reduce the likelihood of long-term problems.

Researchers at Monash University developed a training program, TALI Train, in response to the lack of suitable non-invasive, non-pharmacological treatments to treat attention difficulties in children, and mounting evidence that targeted training can have a positive lasting impact on cognitive function.

This program is the only adaptive, game-based attention training program for young children, and has yet to be trialled in children with ABI. To date, TALI Train has been shown to improve attention capacity and learning outcomes in children (4-10 years) with intellectual delay due to conditions such as autism spectrum disorder and Down syndrome.

Who can participate? 

We’re looking for children aged 4 - 9 years who have been diagnosed with an ABI.

At least 6 months will need to have passed since the time of their injury or, in the case of ABI due to cancers, since the conclusion of treatment.

What is involved?

Phase 1 - Initially parents will complete two simple questionnaires. A cognitive assessment may be offered to your child if required.

Phase 2 - Your child will complete a game-based intervention at home for a period of 5 weeks, as well as attending four sessions at MCRI to measure changes in attention, memory, social and academic skills. Parents will also be asked to complete questionnaires at these sessions.

Find out more

Please contact the research team on:
03 99053255

The project is a collaboration between MCRI and the Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health at Monash University, supported by an NHMRC Development Grant.
Approved by Royal Children’s Hospital Human Research Ethics Committee: #38132