Internship to examine attention and executive function training in children with autism

January 17, 2013

NeuroDevNet, Mitacs-Accelerate and the Sinneave Family Foundation are collaboratively funding a project that will evaluate whether a computer game will help build the capacity to focus and shift attention in children with autism.

Andew Sung, a PhD candidate in Educational Psychology at the University of Victoria (UVic), was awarded the internship January 17. He will be supervised by Dr. Sarah Macoun, a psychologist in the Department of Educational Psychology and Leadership Studies in UVic's Faculty of Education, and Dr. Kimberly Kerns of UVic's Psychology Department. The Sooke School District is also partnering in the internship under the auspices of its ASD curriculum coordinator.

Participants aged 6-12 will be recruited by letter within the Sooke School district, to trial the use of Caribbean Quest, a video game developed by Dr. Kerns and colleagues at UVic and the University of Alberta. The group's early research, which included neuroimaging being conducted by Dr. Christian Beaulieu, has shown that facilitated use of Caribbean Quest is effective in addressing attention and executive functioning deficits in children with FASD.

Sung's study will be carried out over a six month period. An active treatment group and a control group are slated to take part in the study, and will be given cognitive and behavioural assessments prior to active participation, post-intervention, and two- to three months following completion of the study. Mr. Sung will produce an academic paper on his research, in addition sharing results and/or filing reports with the three organizations funding his project. 

More information about Mitacs-Accelerate internships