Each Week OT expert, Sarit Tresser will be giving an in-depth insightful analysis into the various ways Health Games aid both children and adults with disabilities. Tune in to receive first-hand input from a professional in the medical field of child development
GMFCS, Gross Motor Function Classification System categorizes the level of motor function for children in six steps, as described in the attached image. This post will focus on how Timocco can be used to help children with cerebral palsy facing different levels of functioning. This analysis will relate to children with a disability, between the ages of 3-8, and broken down by their level of motor function.
Children defined to be on level 1-2 according to the GMFCS, is able to function independently.These children are able to stand and move around without any support, dealing mostly with significant motor complications, and mechanisms of coordination. The child’s difficulties are stable with impaired balance. These difficulties affect the movement skills which affect the child’s daily social interaction. Using a virtual reality gaming environment such as Timocco, can greatly help these children from both the motor and the emotional aspect.
Young children with CP, ages 3-5 need an environment that is visually non overwhelming and free of overwhelming stimulation. For the first exposure to the virtual environment, the most appropriate games for these children, will be the cause and effect games, which provide free and random movement. The child will respond to the screen and will receive an immediate response from the movements being made. Timocco offers several unique games of this type, including the “Photo Album” and “Bubble Bath” game.
At this age, it is recommended to place the child on a cylindrical padded roll called a Bolster, while playing Timocco. A caregiver or parent can sit behind him and help show the child the required skills needed for the game. According to treatment goals and the abilities of the child, he /she can also play while standing.Acquired skills for a game of this type are, hand-eye coordination, an understanding of action and reaction (cause and affect), awareness of hand movement, internalization of new motion patterns (motor learning) and primary attention functions.
Young children have a tendency to approach and try to touch the screen in order to progress in the game, this tendency is natural and normal orientation. children learn each at their own pace, how to match the movement of their hands to the requirements of the game.The game can be customized and adjusted to the child’s range of motion, so the game will not be frustrating, but challenging and fun at the same time. For young children with a 1-2 performance level, you should start setting intermediate ranges of motion (there is a choice between a minimum range, intermediate-range and full range), so the child will experience success and be challenged, without producing frustration.
In the next installment I will present the use of Timocco for children with cerebral palsy aged 5-8, focusing on the challenges of multi-tasking