Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Cerebral Palsy, Computer Games and Sitting
Research was published to investigate whether sitting balance could be improved in children with cerebral palsy following the use of motion activated computer games. After using the center of gravity game controller in sitting for three months, "statistically significant improvements were seen in two elements of box sitting using the Chailey levels (shoulder girdle position and spinal profile) and in five elements of the Sitting Assessment for Children with Neuromotor Dysfunction across both reach and rest phases of the assessment". The researchers recommend further research in this area.
Have you ever tried using Wii fit in a sitting position for children with cerebral palsy? There is one game on the Wii Fit, Lotus Focus, that is meant to be used in sitting. The individual is supposed to sit on the board and maintain stillness. There is a candle flame flickering for visual feedback. If you move too much, the candle goes out.
Today we tried sitting on the Wii Fit balance board to see if you could still activate the controls for other games. Using the Soccer Heading game, you could control moving the Mii side to side to hit the soccer ball. Of course it was not as accurate as in standing, but it would be viable to use in sitting just don't expect the same scores. We also tried moving the Mii side to side in quadruped only using the upper extremities. This worked as well but was quite fatiguing on the neck muscles. It would work for short periods of time to work on upper extremity weight bearing. I would recommend keeping the TV at a low level to prevent neck hyperextension. I would assume you could also try skiing or other games in sitting that require weight shifting. What have you done to adapt the Wii for children?
Reference: Wade W, Porter D. Sitting playfully: does the use of a centre of gravity computer game controller influence the sitting ability of young people with cerebral palsy? Disabil Rehabil Assist Technol. 2011 Oct 4. [Epub ahead of print]