Monday, October 27, 2008

Using the Wii Therapeutically in a School Setting: PART 1

Jan from Maine writes on October 23, 2008:

Hi There,

I am an OT who would like to use Wii with my kids in the school setting. I am writing a grant for funding this and would like some feedback as to which program might be the best for my K-8 population and with my Autistic population.

Thank you!

Jan from Maine

Thank you, Jan, for your question. This question, of course, covers a very broad subject, so I will break it down into several important areas.  If more specific or timelier information is needed, Jan from Maine could leave a comment with her email address and I could address those specifics directly.

My response to this question will appear in multiple posts.  In the first few posts, I will outline and define several potential areas for occupational therapy intervention for the K-8 population, with a special focus on areas of OT intervention for those with autism.  The second group of posts will give examples of specific Wii activities to address these areas.  And finally, I will suggest some current research to use as supporting literature for a grant proposal. 

Some potential areas for intervention in the K-8 population include but are not limited to:

  • Motor
  • Perceptual
  • Cognitive
  • Psycho Social 

Occupational therapy intervention areas for children in this population with Autism include but are not limited to:

  • Psycho social
  • Sensory (processing) Integration
  • Cognitive
  • Perceptual
  • Motor
Deficits in any of these areas can make classroom and daily activities challenging.  Identified students receive needed intervention from Occupational, Physical and/or Speech Therapists. The Nintendo Wii is emerging as a popular tool for therapists working with school aged children with special needs.  Wiihabilitation incorporating Wii Sports and Wii Fit can be used to address many of these frequently encountered problems and strategies for incorporating Wiihab in School based therapeutic programs will be discussed in detail in the latter parts of this segmented post.

Movement disorders in the K-8 (including those with Autism) may result from neuromusculoskeletal issues as well as from a complex mix of perceptual, muscular and motor issues.  Musculoskeletal involvement may result in:

  • Alterations in muscle tone – (spastic- increased or flaccid- low/decreased)
  • Decreased range of motion and/or strength
  • Poor endurance
  • Decreased postural control – alignment (standing or sitting)  

Additional motor or movement problems stem from a complex mix of deficits across several systems and may manifest as problems with:

  • Coordination –both gross and fine (dexterity)
  • Bilateral integration (using both sides of the body cooperatively, either simultaneously or alternately)
  • Crossing the midline (passing one extremity across the midline of the body into the opposite side)
  • Motor planning (praxis- the ability to perceive [visualize], organize and execute a motion or action accurately)
  • Visual motor integration (the combined ability to visually perceive an object while accurately grasping and manipulating the object efficiently to complete the desired task)

Problems in any of these areas contribute to a student’s difficulty with classroom and self care activities.

1 comment:

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