Last week we touched on the idea that transferring skills from the virtual world is a multi-stage process.
Now, in the next stage, we want to achieve transference to the child’s daily contexts at home / kindergarten / school to ensure improvement of function.
We can accomplish this by:
1. Empowering and enhancing the child’s feeling of competence to increase self-esteem and willingness to try new experiences – breaking the avoidance cycle.
We know that feelings of success in the virtual game are significant for the child. As a result of the positive experiences in an age-appropriate activity, the child finds inner strength to initiate physical activities. We recommend leaving time for activity in the therapy room after using Timocco; to give the child a chance to try and overcome challenges with their newfound confidence attained in the virtual world. It was found that the confident feeling and the ability to overcome challenges transfers from Timocco to real life (Tessler, 2011).
2. Emotional identification with Timocco the Monkey as a leverage to dealing with challenges (for the emotional-functional aspect).
The emotional effect of treatment is key, and this is substantial when the child can relate to the virtual character and experiences success. We can acknowledge the child’s inner world and allow him/her to share and confront content that is troubling them. We can allow expression of these feelings through drawing or art work; for instance, drawing Timocco in different daily situations – with family, in school and so on. From clinical experience, we recognize that empathizing with the character gives the child an opening to discuss the challenges he/she faces.
3. Continuing the virtual activities at home with parents, siblings or friends.
(Depending on your goals). There is nothing as good as practicing in the child’s natural environment to encourage functional transference. Today, when technology is available and accessible, the obvious and correct thing to do is to continue practicing from home. Using Timocco at home will allow continuity of treatment between the clinic and home. Furthermore, using Timocco can enable social participation when playing with friends and siblings.
An article published in the Israeli Journal of Occupational Therapy depicts a child with motor difficulties with a pattern of avoidance. It also portrays how Timocco can be used to empower the child and improve his functioning at home and in kindergarten (Tessler, 2011).
Recommendation for clinical use: In order to allow transference of the newly acquired abilities, we recommend using the virtual environment for 20 minutes out of the session. If possible, we recommend using Timocco at the beginning of a session to allow implementation of the transference of the learned skills.
Hope this helps,
Sarit Tresser, OT