The Wii as physical therapy for cerebral palsy
The University of West Indies, School of Physical Therapy, recently conducted a study on the use of the Wii as a adjunct to physical therapy treatment for children with cerebral palsy. The study was a small one, only involving six children, but the results they found were very positive.
The Wii was chosen largely because of it’s affordability compared to other gaming consoles, making it a much more likely candidate to be purchased by the families of children requiring treatment. Compared to standard physical therapy treatment costs the Wii is very affordable.
One of the primary reasons cited for the success of using video games as therapy is because of the much greater likelyhood that the children will actually take part in the therapy. The video games, while being physically challenging, are also engaging and make the children what to do their therapy.
It is believed that the neurological connections in the brain are strengthened by the new activities offered by the ‘virtual reality’ game play and that the plasticity of the brain allows it to do some ‘re-wiring’ as a result of the mental and physical stimulation.
Although this study involved children with cerebral palsy, the researchers are excited to explore the possibilities of using the Wii with people with cardiovascular impairments as well.
You can read more about the study in the Jamaica Observer here: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/-Wii–care_8980080