Saturday, September 18, 2010

OT includes Nintendo Wii in "Playroom" Based Therapy

Children who perceive sensory input differently than their peers, often struggle at home and at school. These kids face difficulties in day to day life, struggling not only with self care activities like with dressing and feeding, but also with classroom tasks such as attending to classwork, manipulating pencils and paper and absorbing instructions. Lindsey Stamper, an occupational therapist in Paducah, Kentucky works with many kids with neurological impairments, helping them to "slowly expand their capabilities." She provides this help in a SENSORY PLAYROOM.
Using balance balls, swings, a padded floor and Nintendo Wii & balance board activities Lindsey helps kids improve their ability to process sensory input and to engage in activities of daily living with less difficulty.
An approach utilizing sensory integration techniques proves successful in mitigating problems in children who experience neurological processing deficits. Many Wii applications either independently or in conjunction with other sensory diet components enrich a child's sensory experience while helping the child reach processing goals. The Wii, an increasingly familiar video gaming system, contributes therapeutic opportunities to address proprioceptive, vestibular, tactile, auditory and visual needs in a non-threatening and fun fashion.
Are you a parent or therapist interested in sensory processing disorders and in helping kids who deal with the resulting problems? Please post a comment and start a discussion. How do you think activities using Nintendo Wii games -"wii-hab" - can help a child you know?


Dennis said...

my daughter (6) has recently been diagnosed with sensory processing disorder and is attending twice weekly OT sessions. My questions are: "What resources exist for the Nintendo Wii to help my little girl?" She loves gaming and would really prefer doing that over anything else! Also, do I need to purchase the wii fit or other add ons in addition to software?

Mershon W. Hinkel, MSPH, OTR/L said...

Dear Dennis,
Providing your daughter the opportunity to have twice weekly OT sessions is the best thing you can give your daughter at this time. The OT will work with both your child and you, the parents, to help all of you understand ways to meet your daughter's needs and help her improve. Activities offered through Wii software might be a valuable complement to your child's plan of care, since many games can be modified to provide proprioceptive, vestibular, auditory and visual input. Your therapist would be the best person to determine the activities best suited for your daughter since he/she will know exactly what your child needs. At this time, since every child's needs are different, purchasing a Wii may not be the best use of your resources. Check with your therapist. The therapist will be your most informed source and your closest ally as you work to help your child.

Dennis said...

Thanks, Mershon. I'm an educational technology professor, so I've done quite a bit with gaming in the classroom and know my way around the Wii. Unfortunately, my expertise does not extend to the Wii, and my daughter's therapist does not have any experience with it either. Is there a way to discover therapists that are more open to using the Wii with their patients? We live in NW Arkansas.

Grace J said...

Our pediatrician (who has a child with SPD) and I believe that my daughter (7) has sensory processing disorder. It is going to be a few months before the OT will have room for her, so I am looking for ways to help her in the mean time. She has hypersensitivity issues with touch, taste and sound. Do you think the Wii Sports and Wii Fit might be a helpful activity to add to our home until we can get to OT?

Mershon W. Hinkel, MSPH, OTR/L said...

Dear Dennis,
If your child's therapist would like to speak with me, she may email me.
Wii activities never replace OT or PT in any setting. Each therapist uses their own clinical judgement and expertise to devise treatment plans for their clients. I am sure your daughter's plan of care addresses her specific needs with or without Wii activities. Best of luck,
Mershon Hinkel

Mershon W. Hinkel, MSPH, OTR/L said...

Dear Grace,
As I explained to Dennis, rushing to purchase a Wii may not necessarily be the best use of resources. As difficult as it must be to wait for the occupational therapy appointment, your child will be best served through the process of evaluation. The OT will assess your child and develop a plan of care aimed to help your child's function improve. Your therapist will also suggest activities for you to use at home. You may be surprised and find that your child's therapist shows you ways to use Wii activities to help your child with sensory processing challenges.

Ayea said...

During my fieldwork experience at an acute care setting, I witnessed the Wii being used to increase stamina and endurance in a patient who had pumlonary concerns. I think that we should not overlook technology for the elderly population. The older gentleman and his wife bought a Wii fit because he/they enjoyed it so much! Not to say that a patient should be pushed into an intervention they are not comfortable with. Yet they should have the option regardless of their age.
I have not heard much of interventions for children with SPD using a Wii but now I plan on researching the topic. Thank you for the new idea about integrating technology into occupational therapy.

The Van Beek's said...

Our son has SPD and we have noticed that it is much worse in the winter. Also, after he plays wii, itouch, computer games, or watches a movie. Right now I have limited all these things a lot!! However, he is not happy that his brother gets to play itouch and he can't even watch (watching causes problems too). I was wondering if there are certain wii games that would be better for him. He loves to play mario kart but I feel that this is way too much for him - there is a lot of movement on the screen, many sounds and lights etc. Would it be better to have him play things like bowling, and baseball? Also, we do not have wii fit or the balance board but I have considered it. Is this something that would be good therapy also?
I was glad to find this site. I would really like to let him play wii since he enjoys it so much but I do not like the melt downs afterwards - sometimes lasting into the next day!!
Thanks for your help!

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