Children suffering Spatial Processing Disorder struggle to use auditory cues to selectively focus on sounds coming from one location while suppressing noise distractions around them, such as focusing on a teacher in a noisy classroom. Untreated, SPD can interfere with learning and development. Remediation requires daily engagement with clinical PC training software over a 10 week period. The National Acoustic Laboratory (NAL) engaged Nomad to explore and develop a solution that used auditory algorithms to cure children of SPD while engaging and supporting them through the remediation process.
NAL’s existing LiSN software has been shown to cure children with SPD through daily engagement with the auditory training tools over an extended period of time. However, the software presents a tedious and challenging experience for children meaning regular drop off and frustrated parents.
Core to the remediation process is children’s daily engagement for at least 10 weeks to successfully cure them of the condition – a huge challenge for a tough audience. Our audience research showed the emotional states of children being an important consideration for the creative execution. “Children are advised of their condition and that the cure is a challenging 10 week journey – this is a daunting experience for anyone. We needed to provide a balance of support, play, challenge and reward”
Nomad developed Sound Storm, an iPad auditory training game that plays to 6-12 year olds short and long term motivators in exploration, play and narrative.
The product is a layered solution of games and rewards within a narrative presented through the eyes of a central character, Suno. The story of Suno the lion mirrors the child’s own journey of self improvement and perseverance, while providing motivation and support within the game play. Suno is on an epic quest to free the wise princess, Nala, and save the galaxy from the destructive and chaotic Sound Storm.
Filled with rich characters and unique environments, each element has been hand crafted and rendered to create an immersive and vibrant setting to captivate and inspire young children. The game features a multi-layered reward mechanic providing feedback, daily unlocks and weekly rewards that open up new worlds and progress the story to ensure engagement throughout the required 10 week period. Importantly, the reward mechanic is driven by the auditory training algorithm, with reward and progression activated when the algorithm detects the required progress and auditory improvement. The app also visualises detailed analytical reports for parents and audiologists to track the childs remedial progress.
The innovative remediation success is founded in the creative alignment of 3 key tools being the auditory algorithm, integrated within dynamic gameplay and an evolving user centric narrative.
Studies have shown that 100% of SPD affected children completing the remediation program are cured of the disorder. Tests of the foundation training tool of the app show that “…SPD was reversed in all children who trained with LiSN & Learn” (Cameron, Glyde & Dillon, 2011).
This is an enormous success for the software and likely the first time that an iPad application has been able to provide a such a valuable remediation benefit for children.
The true results of the app however, should explore the metrics that demonstrate an appropriate level of engagement with the app throughout the remediation period of 10 weeks. While the app is currently only 8 weeks old and the initial figures are still being collated, initial results show a high level of engagement and importantly, a sense of fun while playing. Parents report that children are excited to return to the app and compared to auditory training with an Audiologist, children look forward to continuing their exploration of the Soundstorm universe, the challenge and the rewards it provides.
NAL are currently exploring the next stage of the product. This will include online profiles for reports, supporting material with movie style posters in Audiologists offices, and welcome packs for children using the app including plush toys, colouring in books, Soundstorm branded headphones and more.
Nomad has provided an accessible and engaging app for young patients. This was no easy task and the team has executed it perfectly
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