Wii Fit could aid children with movement difficulties

Wii Fit’s praises have once again been sung, with a study showing that it can aid improve the development of children with movement difficulties.

The pilot study, which was led by Professor Elisabeth Hill from the Department of Psychology at Goldsmiths, Dr Dido Green from Oxford Brookes and Dr Ian Male of West Sussex PCT, indicates that, through regular use, the balance games could have a positive impact on the motor skills, and related social and emotional behaviour, of children with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD).

Two separate groups of children with movement difficulties or DCD were studied over a one month period – one group partaking in three ten minute sessions on Wii Fit on their lunch break, whilst the other took part in the Jump Ahead programme which aims to develop motor skills.

Those that used Wii Fit saw significant gains in motor proficiency, the child’s perception of their motor ability and greater emotional well-being, than the group that didn’t.

This now provides preliminary evidence to support Wii Fit’s use within therapeutic programmes for children with movement difficulties.

“The results provide interesting points warranting further discussion, particularly in view of the fact that many children have access to the Nintendo Wii Fit and may be using this system at home with minimal supervision,” Professor Hill explained. “This simple, popular intervention represents a plausible method to support children’s motor and psychosocial development.”

Dr Male adds, “Children with DCD experience poor motor and psychosocial outcomes. Interventions are often limited within the health care system, and little is known about how technology might be used within schools or homes to promote the motor skills and/or psychosocial development of these children.”

“These preliminary results highlight the need for further research to inform across these and other questions regarding the implementation of virtual reality technologies in therapeutic services for children with movement difficulties,” Dr Green discussed.

A positive outcome indeed, and proof that the games industry most certainly isn’t all bad.

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After starting out with a Yellow Game Boy and a copy of Donkey Kong Land, Alex once hid in his room to play The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time one Christmas. Now he shares his thoughts on Nintendo Insider, keeping track of everything to do with Nintendo.

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