Each Week OT expert, Sarit Tresser will be giving an in-depth insightful analysis into the various ways Health Games aid children with disabilities. Stay connected to receive first-hand input from a professional in the field of child development
So far, my blog posts in the OT Expert Series have referred to Timocco’s therapeutic aspects, but the system is also able to sample the child’s performances, while keeping track of the data, changes, and mark the child’s functions while in the game. Therefore, it is possible to identify trends and compare the performance of the child in relation to himself and in relation to the norm, as expected for his age.
In a study conducted by the Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy Department at the University of Haifa, it was found that Timocco is a fun and reliable diagnostic tool with distinct difficulty levels for children with normal development. This means that the system is sensitive and knows how to distinguish between different variables in a child’s performance at different game levels.
Further research, which was conducted at the University of Haifa, included the comparison between different age groups:
47 children with typical development were divided into two age groups (4-6 and 6-8 years)
Each child played two representative games which were selected from the five software games
Each game included a training stage and two stages of performance while the difficulty of the levels were raised. The duration of the intervention lasted about 10 minutes
The test was performed in a quiet room in the presence of the child and the examiner
The measurement of the outcome included the duration of playing (in seconds), a measure of the effectiveness in the action, the average response time, and the average operation time (in seconds). The comparison between the two age groups was tested by a test significance level of p <0.05
The research results showed that the virtual reality computer game “Growing with Timocco” is a tool which distinguishes the performance levels among different age groups of children with typical development
In both of these studies, the subjects are children with normal development, meaning children who can provide values of the norm (“norms”) and give information about the proper skill that we expect to see while playing with Timocco. Based on the norms collected, one can identify children who don’t have these norms and therefore arouse concerns of developmental delay. In fact, Timocco acts as a a detecting and filtering tool for these children and will signal to the examiner the need to deepen the diagnosis.
For evaluating the performance of the child in relation to himself, the system enables the tracking of the child’s performance by presenting data such as: the number of errors, number of successes, the reaction time of the child, efficient performance, a graph of the hand movements (as described in my previous posts ) and more.
In order to accurately assess the child’s progress, it is needed for a base line to be set which will conduct the comparison at different times. The principle is to examine the child exactly in the same activity, with the same settings, and the same level of difficulty over a period of time. Only this way, can we compare the child’s condition regarding his performance in comparison to his earlier performances in a reliable way.