Australian app helping reduce inattention and hyperactivity in primary school children

Coinciding with National Children’s Week and ADHD Awareness month, a Melbourne-based healthtech startup, TALI Health, has launched TALI Train in schools – the world’s first clinically validated, non-drug based digital strategy that strengthens core attention skills in childhood and treats “lack of attention” in children.

Attention problems are the most commonly reported childhood difficulty with 136 million children globally reported as having severe attention difficulties and approximately 400,000 children in Australia with severe attention difficulties. And this number is growing.

The game-based program, TALI Train, was developed by TALI Health in collaboration with Monash University to combine over 20 years of neuroscientific research with contemporary game design. TALI Train is a registered medical device and is available to children in the general population. For qualified children within the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) the cost of the program is covered in full.

Glenn Smith, CEO of TALI Health, said “attention is one of the first cognitive skills to develop in children and without effective early intervention attention difficulties can have life-long consequences.” Evidence indicates that even a few inattentive behaviours in early childhood can be strong predictors of poor academic and occupational outcomes in late adolescence and early adulthood.

TALI Train is already in use by families and healthcare professionals across Australia and has been adopted by classrooms in Victorian and New South Wales.

A Melbourne mother whose 6-year-old son recently completed the TALI Train program immediately noticed increased attention abilities in her son.

“I have personally seen a difference in my son since the beginning of the program. His attention to detail and his focus has improved and he is a lot calmer after completing a session,” she said. “The thing I liked the most about him using TALI Train was when he completed a session after school, it really helped calm him down from a hectic day. This made such a difference to his behaviour in the evening at home.”

“The five-week TALI Train program, delivered on tablets or iPad, targets the underlying issue of inattention by strengthening attention skills at the cognitive level. The program consists of four adaptive activities that target cognitive processes such as: Selection, Control, Impulsivity and Focus. Importantly the TALI Train program adapts to the unique needs of each child with algorithms that adjust the difficulty of exercises in real-time,” Mr. Smith added.

“In addition, every aspect of the program has been developed with the needs of children experiencing attention difficulties in mind, and several features can be customised to ensure engagement with the program,” Smith said.

TALI Health will expand the TALI Train program globally in 2019, where they will seek to give as many children as possible the opportunity to access this innovative intervention to improve their attention. By providing children with a strong cognitive foundation, the ability to regulate behaviour, optimise learning and support wellbeing can be achieved.

“For TALI Health, the ability to offer an evidence-based early intervention means we actually have the chance to reduce the negative and cascading impact that attention problems can have on a range of areas; mental health, employment, economic activity and general wellbeing for the next generation,” said Mr. Smith.