Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Wii -Like Therapy Even before Wii hit the Market

In 2006, NeuroGym Technologies introduced a training system for use in rehab called the NeuroGym Trainer. This computer based technology offered therapists a way to provide rehab patients with visual and auditory feedback. A therapist could use this system to help patients learn to shift their weight, to help strengthen a targeted muscle group, or to help improve coordination. This system utilized sensor pads and a video game format. Many goals mentioned in the NeuroGym Trainer video can be addressed using Wii Fit and/or other Wii applications. Watch the video. How do you think you could Wii activities in similar ways? Do you have patients on your case load with goals that could be addressed with Wii activities? The patients would have more fun!
I have a client who hopes to move from the skilled care unit to the personal care unit. This client needs to dress and undress the upper and lower body with set-up only in a reasonable amount of time each day. Standing tolerance as well as dynamic balance must improve before that functional goal can be obtained. Playing "Fishing" (Wii Play) while standing requires dynamic balance while building endurance. This game will also require problem solving and visual discrimination. Honing those skills will also help this client dress in a timely fashion. I plan to get this OT client Wii fishing during the next therapy session and meet that functional goal in two weeks with the help of Wii-Hab.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Wii-Hab - Utilizing Wii Fit and Other Wii Programs in Therapy

The utilization of activities offered through Nintendo Wii continues to gain popularity with rehab therapists working with multiple populations. Just recently, an article from the Boston Herald appeared online in Therapy Times highlighting the improvement a young girl experienced following therapy for a traumatic brain injury. Not so long ago, an article about Rep. Gifford's rehab mentioned Nintendo Wii as a likely adjunct to traditional therapy.
Often my readers write and ask how Wii activities might be useful for their loved one.

Addressing specific cases would be difficult through an online platform such as this blog. So mostly, it is suggested that those looking for a therapist use care in selecting the setting for their particular situation. On MASTERSDEGREE.COM the writer provides a list of 15 questions to help those looking for a therapist of any type know what questions to ask before signing up. In the rehab setting, the opportunity to hand pick the therapist is rarely available. But usually rehab therapists, OTs especially, use a client-centered approach, assuring that the plan of care targets the individual's needs and learning style. If the therapist is familiar and comfortable with technology and Wii equipment is available, a high likelihood exists for including Wii activities since so many therapeutic objectives (as mentioned throughout this blog) can be addressed in an engaging way.
If your facility has either not embraced Wii technology yet or has put Wii away on a shelf, contact me at OTRMershon@gmail.com. I will work with your facility mangers to bring a Wii-Hab Workforce Training Session geared toward your specific population to your location.