BrightMind LABS is a social venture that exists to improve the lives of children by creating applications that fuse immersive gaming principles with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy / CBT.
In the ideal world, there would be access to quality face to face therapy for every child who needed it. Unfortunately no-where in the world is the need for therapy or mental health services for children fully met. The team is particularly interested in providing access to CBT for kids who may not have access to quality face-to-face therapy.
CBT delivered by computer is well proven to get results for children with depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder or Asperger’s syndrome. At BrightMind LABS, we are taking this one step further by wrapping computer CBT into a computer game environment, which makes it much more appealing for children to engage with.
The first BrightMind LABS development is MyFriendQuest – a downloadable PC application designed to teach children with high functioning autism or Asperger’s syndrome to recognize and respond appropriately to emotions. It does this in a gaming environment in which players interact with random characters as they successfully progress through the game.
Whilst it was developed for and tested on children with high functioning autism or Asperger’s syndrome, MyFriendQuest has also achieved great results for kids with ADD, ADHD, learning difficulties, dyspraxia or severe shyness.
MyFriendQuest was developed and tested by BrightMind LABS under the clinical leadership of Dr Yvette Ahmad.
MyFriendQuest was inspired by Yale University research which found that for autistic children, emotional activation by Digimon characters was stronger than it was for familiar human faces. Also influential was research that validates the effectiveness of CBT in connecting bodily feelings, thoughts and actions for children on the autistic spectrum.
Invaluable assistance and input was received during development and testing from high profile professionals Dr Tony Attwood and Nigel Latta – both of whom have publicly endorsed the finished MyFriendQuest application.
BrightMind LABS are proud for this project to have won the global award at Berkeley, California – for Best Social Impact assessment at the Global Social Venture Competition. The Global Social Venture Competition has been providing mentoring, exposure, and prizes for social ventures from around the world since 1999 – and is the oldest and largest initiative of its kind.