You are raising an important and very relevant question. We often see these problems when we work with kids who have difficulties with spatial or visual perception or intellectual disabilities or delays. It is important to know that Timocco encourages abstract thinking and asks the child to understand that he is working in one space but is affecting a different one without actually touching it.
Nowadays, most kids are familiar with all kinds of touch screens and are used to working with them. The transition to a new use of the screen requires a change in his organization process, and might be difficult at the start. Moreover, it often involves a learning period with some trial and error.
The child has to learn a new use for the computer as well as the game balls. Throwing a ball at or to an object is the normal use for a ball, and children tend to do that at first. Part of our job is to mediate the correct and unique use of the game balls when playing Timocco. Some kids will get it right away while others might need more time, help and support. Often we will have to practice this with them several times before they understand the relationship between their hand movement and what happens in the game on the screen.
For kids with ID, this goal is much bigger; understanding how the game works is a goal of its own without starting to actually practice the different skills that Timocco teaches. When using Timocco with these kids, we want to gradually shift them from the actual concrete games to a virtual and more abstract way of playing. For these kids, we at Timocco have developed a range of basic games that focus on understanding causality.
Games like “Star Trail”, where a trail of stars appears in reaction to the child’s hand movement, even if it is unplanned and random. It can gradually clarify and teach the cause and effect of their hand movements on the game, thus, teaching them how to interact with the virtual game. The different Timocco games were developed as a learning scale from simple cause and effect to visual screening and focusing to reaction to a moving object and planning and timing movement in response.
Based on our experience and from what we hear from therapists who are using Timocco already, children with moderate ID can and do play with Timocco. It is reasonable to assume that the higher the child’s cognitive function, the faster the learning curve would be but that is not always the case.
When working with kids with ID, I would recommend starting in a sitting position to eliminate the possibility that the child will tire from standing. Start with only one ball in the child’s hand and the other in yours to demonstrate and mediate when needed. If you sit with the child, you can help him with the different movements and demonstrate them to him. You would probably want to start with the simple games like “Catch the Butterfly” or “Hopping Frogs” that give an immediate reaction to what the child does. I also advise to put the game ball on the child’s hands as gloves so that the child will not have to think about holding it and can be focused on the game. This also it will prevent him from throwing the ball at the screen.
Since playing with Timocco is a learning experience, I would dedicate time in three to five sessions to try the games and allow the child time to understand the concept and to internalize these new demands.
Hope this helps,