According to The Christian Science Monitor, many retirement communities and senior centers have been using grants to buy Wii systems for residents. The activities boost hand-eye coordination, promote a sense of community, empower senior citizens, and even help alleviate depression with a gaming system that's easy to understand.
Game therapy isn’t just for the elderly. Ray Pizarro was paralyzed in an accident ten years ago; his doctors have been using motion-capture games as part of his rehabilitation. In the game, Pizarro must grab gems in a virtual mine using a console similar to the Microsoft Kinect. Pizarro reported that he has seen improvement in his posture, endurance, reaching ability, and range of motion.
Game therapy is also inspiring mobile app development. According to ASHA, because today’s youths are so tech-savvy, speech-language pathologists can take advantage of apps on smartphones and tablets. Many of the apps used for game therapy include animations as positive reinforcement for a job well done, much like Angry Birds.
The ability to be fully engrossed in game therapy is also enticing, which can be seen in the example of 5-year-old Sophia, who has cerebral palsy. She often refused to speak, even during traditional speech therapy. Once she began using Starfall, an iPad app designed for enhancing early literacy skills, during an education assessment, she began to touch the letters on the screen and mimic the sounds the iPad would make.
Game therapy can be a useful way to treat some patients, according to Judy Cooper with Community Care. Console, computer, and biofeedback games all offer unique benefits to patients. Cooper cites studies that show promising results from several different game types. The medical community is recognizing the clinical benefits of game therapy and doctors are already using it to successfully treat patients.
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