ADHD medications are a truly amazing thing. Teaching a mind to react and behave differently is difficult. The therapies and treatments available to both children and adults who suffer from ADHD are better and more affordable than ever before, and we should be thankful.
Of course, it’s not enough to simply medicate. You need to train your ADHD mind whenever possible, especially when young. Training literally changes the brain over time. The right games, if you can find them, are worth their weight in gold – or, in this case, digital gold.
Luckily for us, this game is one we can play for free.
Flip Words 2: Multiple Levels of Game
All good ADHD therapy games have at least three characteristics – the game can’t get boring, it must reward concentration, and it must get increasingly complex.
Flip Words 2 fulfills the third category almost immediately. The premise is simple. At the top of the player’s screen is a phrase, which you’re supposed to guess as letters appear. When those letters do appear is technically up to you, but only when you play a second game well enough to earn a letter.
The second game is where most of your work is done. At the center of Flip Board 2 is a Boggle-style collection of letters, a 7-by-7 square that can be randomly shaken as the game progresses.
Like with Boggle, you need to find as many words in the letter square that you can. To properly form a word, the letters must be next to each other – you can’t jump from one side of the square to the other. You have to move one letter up, down, sideways, or diagonally to complete a word.
Here’s where it gets tricky.
The phrase at the top of the screen, the one you need to guess to win? A letter only appears in that phrase if it’s the first letter in one of the words you form in the 7-by-7 square below.
For example, if the phrase is ‘Eat Your Vegetables,’ you could only make a V appear by finding a word that starts with V in the 7-by-7 square. This means that you can’t simply guess letters to guess the phrase. You need to guess a letter, and then test your guess by finding a word in the square that begins with that letter.
You acquire points by forming more and more words from the 7-by-7 square, but you ultimately win only by guessing the phrase.
Confused? Don’t worry. It’s easy to learn if you play.
Our concern isn’t making you good at the game right away, but making you try it as ADHD therapy.
Flip Words 2: Rewarding Concentration
We briefly outlined earlier the three characteristics that any good ADHD therapy game must have if it’s going to help train a hyperactive mind. They’re worth going over in greater detail.
ADHD Video Game Therapy
Games worth your time must have the following characteristics:
1. The Game Cannot Have Significant Downtime
We should explain. No video game has true downtime, or else it wouldn’t be successful. No one wants to play a video game that drags on with no plot, no tasks to fulfill, and no action. Some games, however, are very plot-driven, and fill time with scenes of dialogue to keep the story going.
While entertaining, these aren’t ideal. When most of your game is passively observing what’s going on, coupled with intense moments of shooting everything you can, your mind isn’t engaged in the way it needs to be.
Flip Words 2 is Two Games
Our subject today, however, is two games at once. Flip Words 2 has no violence, no loud noises, and no long periods of dialogue to advance a plot.
It doesn’t have any downtime because, at all times, you’re required to be playing two games. Which one you focus on is dependent on how far you’ve come in guessing the phrase at the top of the screen.
In short, this game engages you without rewarding you for simple, mindless clicks. For the ADHD mind, that’s absolutely crucial.
Top 10 Seek and Find Games to Help ADHD
Video games got a bad rap in the ‘80s and ‘90s – especially with ADD.
Before we understood how widespread ADHD was, before we had fully defined it in the way that doctors do today – before we even called it ADHD – people were blaming video games for the disorder. They were wrong.
2. The Game Must Reward Task Completion
Almost any video game satisfies this requirement in a very basic way – even first-person shooters, after all, need you to make it to the end of a level. Good ADHD therapy games, however, require attention and focus to complete a variety of tasks, preferably ones that are complicated and that overlap.
It’s one thing to get better at pulling a digital trigger, and quite another to look for certain words in a randomized square so that you can guess at an entirely different set of words. The more a game rewards concentration and task completion, and the more complicated those tasks get, the better the ADHD therapy the game provides.
What It Takes to Be a Better Player
Consider the levels of play that are going on in Flip Words 2, and the layering of goals that is required.
A good player must be aware, first, of the final goal – guessing the phrase at the top of the screen. He or she must keep this goal in mind while playing a second game, structuring that second game so that it helps win the first game.
This will require shifting strategies, and good time management skills to complete. Are you better off forming as many words as you can from the 7-by-7 word square, and racking up points? Or is it better to form just a few words and take a guess at the final phrase?
Winning each level requires time management, focus, task completion, and the self-awareness to know when it’s more appropriate to accomplish an immediate goal or a final goal.
All of these skills are difficult for ADHD minds, and the more they’re practiced, the better.
3. The Game Must Grow Increasingly Complicated
This part doesn’t need much explanation – any game that rewards focus, task completion, and self-awareness also needs to get progressively more complicated.
In other words, to function as good ADHD therapy, a gamer can’t just descend into the same pattern of clicks and button presses to win. The mind needs to be engaged.
Flip Words 2, like most games, gets harder and harder to play the further you get into it. Its difficulty reinforces the critical thinking and concentration skills that ADHD minds need outside the game.
In short, any game that fills downtime with puzzles instead of violence, rewards task completion, and overlaps short- and long-term goals of increasing complexity is a worthy tool for ADHD therapy.
Flip Words 2 hits all three goals. Of course, you might be tempted to let your child play all the time. Don’t – how you play is just as important as what you play.
Should I Let My Kid Play Flip Words 2 Constantly?
The short answer here is ‘no.’ No therapy works well if it isn’t structured.
Game time itself needs to reinforce the themes that the games themselves reinforce – which, as it happens, are the same things you are trying to teach your ADHD child, or yourself.
Have you, or your child, completed all the tasks you need to finish on a particular day? If so, reward yourself with Flip Words 2.
Have you or your child been successful in advancing towards a long-term goal? If so, play for an hour.
So long as game time is structured, you won’t run the risk of putting ‘getting better at the game’ in front of all other goals.
Flip Words 2 is supposed to be reinforcing life skills, after all, not replacing them.
Consider structuring play time after a checklist has been met.
1. Has Your Child Just Finished a Task?
The most obvious task here might be ‘do your homework,’ but it’s just as good to use something like ‘come home from school and put away your backpack.’
Any simple task your child completes can be rewarded, and it might be just as beneficial to play Flip Words 2 before starting on homework rather than afterwards.
Too many complex tasks before a reward can get overwhelming.
2. Has Your Child Advanced Towards a Long-Term Goal?
There are more than enough long-term goals that ADHD minds can strive for that fit well in this category.
Has your child sat still in class for a week straight? Has he or she gotten consistent high marks for a month?
Long-term goals can grow more difficult as time passes – the important thing is to make sure your child keeps them in mind while going about his or her day.
3. Has Your Child Had Winding Down Time?
Sometimes, the best way to save your sanity, and your child’s sanity, is to have a few moments each day when a reward is given, no matter what else has happened. Video games are great for this.
Even if it’s been a bad day, week, or month, everyone benefits from an hour a day – before dinner, bed, or after school – where your child gets to retreat in something safe and consistent.
Knowing that the day will have a moment of peace is the best way to face off the moments of chaos.
When Will I See Results from Video Game Therapy?
We’re going to give you a terrible answer here – that’s not really how ADHD works. It’s easy to forget, as parents, that our children will be managing their busy minds for the rest of their lives.
This isn’t like healing a broken bone. Your child’s mind will always need medication, encouragement, reinforcement, and training.
Good video game therapy isn’t a cure – it’s a healthy habit. The quicker you can make it a habit, the better. After all, one day he or she will have to manage this brain without you. If video games help, you’ll have given your child a great gift.