A screenshot from the game Dino Island

Would you like to participate in a study using an online game-based intervention for improving executive function in children with CHD?


With the majority of children with congenital heart disease (CHD) surviving into adulthood, there has been a shift to optimize long-term outcomes in these patients. Poorer executive function (EF) has been reported in these patients, which can hinder their academic, social, and behavioural development.

EF refers to a set of cognitive skills that are required to plan and execute complex tasks. Our aim is to improve EF in children with CHD using an innovative game-based parent intervention, which has shown to be effective in other clinical populations with poor EF skills (e.g., children with ASD, FASD, or ADHD). Improving EF and academic skills may be beneficial for long-term health outcomes (e.g., medical adherence) and quality of life in children with CHD.

Potential benefits to patients and their families:

  • Information from this study will help researchers learn for whom this type of intervention would be most beneficial.
  • Families will receive a $10 online gift card after the pre- and post-training assessments (a total of $20) as a token of appreciation.
  • Parents are provided free training on how to improve their child’s cognitive skills and provided support as needed from the research team.
  • Once the study is finished, families may continue accessing their video game accounts and they can continue playing for free if they wish on their own home tablets.

Inclusion/exclusion criteria for patients:

  • Between 4 and 12 years of age
  • Diagnosed with congenital or acquired heart disease
  • Parent and child are able to play the game-based intervention together for at least 30 minutes three times per week for a total of six weeks
  • Have sufficient mobility to interact with the tablet (e.g., accurately tapping the screen)
  • Have sufficient language ability to understand and follow simple instructions
  • Have no more severe than a mild intellectual disability (i.e., not moderate/severe intellectual disability)

Demo of game-based parent intervention (Dino Island): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IB8p14momvo.

If you are interested in learning more and to sign up for the study, please contact the study coordinator, Ms. Thumri Waliwitiya, at thumriw@student.ubc.ca.

Sent on behalf of:

Dr. Sarah Hutchison PhD (She, Her, Hers)
Sunny Hill Child Development and Rehabilitation Research Manager
Division of Developmental Pediatrics – Medicine | Pediatrics
University of British Columbia | Sunny Hill Health Centre, BCCH
Musqueam, Squamish & Tsleil-Waututh Traditional Territory
4480 Oak Street Room F609 | Vancouver BC | V6H 3V4 Canada

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