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 the field of child development
Many studies have shown that children with autism function better with screens (computers, iPad, communication boards, etc.).They feel safer with virtual reality (VR) and the immediate, clear constant stimulus helps those to absorb skills and obtain knowledge. In different situations this can be difficult and overwhelming.
Computer activities usually do not encourage communication, and sometimes even causes the child to turn in on their inner world. This increases the need for controlled computer software that encourage interpersonal interaction.
For this purpose, Timocco developed game sensors that allow teamwork, and a system that provides the therapist / teacher / parent control over the characteristics of the game and the nature of the activity.
The game is able to be adjusted to the child’s needs and treatment goals, such as activities prompting the child to accept the rules of the game, the ability to share a common space, refer to the presence of another, and to hold joint attention. Since the game is controlled by Timocco’s round gloves, there is a possibility of mutual play with two players (parent-child, therapist-child, two children), where every player controls one glove, but the progress happens only when the players put their hands together and cooperate.
For example, to blow up bubbles in the bubble bath, the players are required to place their hands as if they were clapping. In another activity, the players play in turn. The child must wait for their turn, be aware of the role and place of the other player in the activity, delay gratification, and adapt to the rules of the game.
The virtual environment is expected, consistent, and can be ranked, so that the degree of feedback is adapted without over stimulation. The different parameters of the environment such as background, the amount of diverting, and the volume of the sound can be regulated, therefore this environment is a safe place for these children. From this safe place the child’s motivation is growing as well as the ability to handle a variety of challenging activities. In addition, the child improves essential skills in an experiential, fun and empowering way.
The range of activities that the Timocco game environment offers allows work on skills such as visual and auditory processing, and improve attention functioning. The activity can be ranked so that in the beginning the child can practice and obtain the motor and cognitive tools and skills independently, and then cope with social requirements and mutual play.
The main advantages of Timocco games can be traced to the mobility and activity that the game encourages along with the social interaction that it allows and the motors and perceptual skills it improves.
In the next post I will refer to each game of “Growing with Timocco”, and demonstrate how to use the games to improve communication skills.