An open trial assessment of "The Number Race", an adaptive computer game for remediation of dyscalculia

INSERM-CEA Unit 562, Cognitive Neuroimaging Service Hospitalier Frédéric Joliot, CEA-DRM-DSV, 91401 Orsay, France.
Behavioral and Brain Functions (Impact Factor: 2). 02/2006; 2:20. DOI: 10.1186/1744-9081-2-20
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In a companion article, we described the development and evaluation of software designed to remediate dyscalculia. This software is based on the hypothesis that dyscalculia is due to a "core deficit" in number sense or in its access via symbolic information. Here we review the evidence for this hypothesis, and present results from an initial open-trial test of the software in a sample of nine 7-9 year old children with mathematical difficulties.
Children completed adaptive training on numerical comparison for half an hour a day, four days a week over a period of five-weeks. They were tested before and after intervention on their performance in core numerical tasks: counting, transcoding, base-10 comprehension, enumeration, addition, subtraction, and symbolic and non-symbolic numerical comparison.
Children showed specific increases in performance on core number sense tasks. Speed of subitizing and numerical comparison increased by several hundred msec. Subtraction accuracy increased by an average of 23%. Performance on addition and base-10 comprehension tasks did not improve over the period of the study.
Initial open-trial testing showed promising results, and suggested that the software was successful in increasing number sense over the short period of the study. However these results need to be followed up with larger, controlled studies. The issues of transfer to higher-level tasks, and of the best developmental time window for intervention also need to be addressed.

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