Training the Vulnerable Teen Brain

5Point funding

Professor Kim Cornish and Dr Hannah Kirk, the inventors of TALI Train – the first attention training program to support young children with attention issues – are now turning their attention to the needs of adolescents.

Professor Kim Cornish and Dr Hannah Kirk, the inventors of TALI Train – the first attention training program to support young children with attention issues – are now turning their attention to the needs of adolescents.

Research in this area has, in general, tended to centre on the vulnerable, developing brain of children in the pre-school and early primary school years. Yet there are young people approaching or having reached adolescence who also experience attention disorders. These teenagers have not been lucky enough to receive suitable intervention or treatment early in their lives, and are now struggling with the increased demands of education and the pressures associated with navigating the teenage years. MICCN will now be able to address this gap and help these individuals too.

Thanks to funding from the 5point Foundation and commitment from longstanding industry partners Torus Games, Professor Cornish and Dr Kirk will look to create a prototype of a world-first virtual reality attention training program for adolescents, known as ATeenD. The program will be designed specifically for adolescents who have already transitioned away from junior game play, and can be used at home or school rather than delivered one-on-one like existing cognitive interventions, allowing better engagement.

The ATeenD program will be designed specifically for adolescents who have already transitioned away from junior game play, and will utilise Virtual Reality technology that can be used at home or school rather than delivered one-on-one like existing cognitive interventions.

“ATeenD will be specifically tailored for vulnerable adolescents, aged 13 to 17, and will aim to improve mental health, educational outcomes and decision-making, while reducing impulsive behaviours,” Professor Cornish said. “Importantly, ATeenD will be adaptive to the level of skill of the teen across their unique signature of attention skills. We want to ensure that young people of all ages can reach their full potential without having to rely on pharmaceutical interventions. We’re very grateful to the 5point Foundation in helping to make all of this possible.”

MICCN congratulates Professor Cornish and Dr Kirk on the funding award, and wishes them every success as they continue their quest to support the development of resilient brains.

For more information on ATeenD or the TALI, programs contact Professor Kim Cornish (Kim.Cornish@monash.edu) or Dr Hannah Kirk (Hannah.Kirk@monash.edu).

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