The Impulse Control Game™ is an educational and therapeutic board game designed to help young people with ADD, ADHD, and other conditions involving impulse control problems. Learning to stop and think is a good start, but effective control of impulses requires the acquisition of specific skills. The game teaches seven specific skills that have been proven in the research literature to help impulsive children control their impulses, make good decisions, and avoid actions that are detrimental to themselves and others. The skills learned in the game are:
- Accepting delayed gratification ·
- Reading social cues
- Understanding the benefits of impulse control
- Developing positive internal speech ·
- Improving problem solving skills
- Understanding the consequences of impulsive actions ·
- Improving the ability to stop a behavior
Players will learn about and practice all of the above skills. For example, a card dealing with delayed gratification may give a player a choice of winning one point now or two points on his or her next turn. These skills will help players control their impulses, increase frustration tolerance, and maintain their future plans in the face of distractions. Since impulsive children tend to be experiential learners, a board game is an ideal medium to teach the skills.
In the game, players drive their cars, making their way through a maze of roads. At each intersection they have to make a decision regarding the best path. Some paths are shorter, but contain various hazards that are represented by road signs. For example, a yield sign means that the player must go back two spaces. Therefore, players must avoid hasty decisions and choose their routes in a way that looks forward to the consequences of each path. They learn that the “easy way” is not always the best way. In order to do well in the game, players are forced to delay decisions until the facts and consequences have been considered and to plan ahead. In this way, the play of the game reinforces the skills that the players are learning by following the directions on the cards that they pick.
The game box includes a teacher booklet with complete lesson plans, suggested one-on-one coaching activities, a list of activities to give to parents that will help them reinforce the skills learned in the game, references to the studies that demonstrate the efficacy of the skills in the game, and suggestions for further reading.
Grades 2 - 7
- Playing time: 30 minutes (or longer if desired)
Learning Objectives - Players will:
1. Learn how to stop and evaluate the consequences of various courses of actions.
2. Improve their ability to read social cues.
3. Learn the benefits and rewards of controlling their impulses.
4. Improve their ability to use positive internal speech (self-talk).
5. Improve their ability to generate multiple solutions to problems.
6. Practice and improve their performance on the seven skills listed above.
7. Develop improved frustration tolerance.