AAP Finance

Digital game being used to assess children

By AAP Newswire

An ASX-listed Melbourne company is hoping its digital app could eventually be used to assess the cognitive skills of every child entering school, alongside traditional eyesight and hearing tests.

So far 30 Australian schools in remote and metropolitan areas have used Tali Digital's Tali Direct game to assess 1,613 children aged four to eight for learning disorders such as attention deficits.

Tali Digital managing director Glenn Smith said that randomised clinical trials had proven the value of the 20-minute game, developed by Monash University researchers..

"It's measuring the cognitive attainment of the child," Mr Smith said.

"The child doesn't know they're being tested, or treated."

The game involves animated characters and the child has to do things like push the nose of a bunny rabbit, Mr Smith said.

"They think it's a lot of fun, but they're actually being measured."

So far 30 per cent of children that have been tested by the Tali Detect app have shown some form of an attention deficit, which the app ranks as either high, medium or low risk.

For those that need work, Tali Digital has another app, Tali Train, that that aims to build up children's core attention skills over time.

Another 416 children have used that training app as part of a pilot program, the company announced on Thursday.

Mr Smith said because of a concept called neuroplasticity, children's brains are very changeable at a young age.

Joanna Wiggs, a prep coordinator at Hillcrest Christian College on the Gold Coast in Queensland, said that thanks to the app educators had been able to "identify a small group of students to continue working with".

The testing app costs $30 and the training program is $99, which Mr Smith said is cheap enough that it should be widely accessible.

"We fervently believe that every child entering school should have their attention tested, just like they have their sight tested, just like they have their hearing tested. If you don't have all three things, you can't learn. It's that important."