Motion video games - their role in the future of education and therapy
Article By: Sarit Tresser March 2011
Founder and Product Director of Timocco Ltd.
B.A.| M.Sc Occupational Therapy, University of Haifa
Video games today offer users a more physical, immersive experience than ever before. Motion control devices aimed at younger audiences, like the Nintendo Wii, Xbox Kinect etc’, are seen as a new way to keep children’s minds and bodies active in a digital age.
Unfortunately, not all children are able to benefit from the technology. Children with special needs can often have difficulty using high end gaming consoles, which are not designed to suit their unique needs. This means they miss out on all of the educational and health benefits, as well as the enjoyment, that video game motion technology brings.
Children with limited range-of-motion are sometimes not physically able to do the tasks asked of them, particularly in games that involve strict time limits. As a result of not being able to achieve the targets set by the game, children with special needs can become easily frustrated and lose motivation for playing.
We were one of the companies who saw the need early on to create a more suitable motion gaming solution for parents of children with special needs and therapists. The ‘Growing with Timocco,’ motion game is specifically designed for these children and while being very different from regular games, it aims to provide the same interactive experience that children enjoy.
Educational computer games have been used in schools for many years, but motion technology has meant users can now get much more from the experience such as improving both motor and cognitive skills.
Playing with Timocco the child is required to be attentive and focused on the task while paying attention to his or her own body movements. Results have shown that levels of concentration stay high even after playing games, which can lead to better performance in the classroom.
This technology can also be used by professionals who are using the games as a therapy tool. They can tailor settings including the duration of the task, speed, appearance of distracters, difficulty levels and other parameters in the game, to ensure the child continues to work on the skills they need to improve on the most.
There are many real benefits to be gained from using gaming aids as a tool in special needs therapy. It has shown to help children with a range of conditions including Cerebral Palsy, ADHD, DCD (Developmental Coordination Disorder) and other developmental delays.
Many therapists now use video game technology in their practices, “It is not often that I come across a product such as Timocco, an implementation of virtual reality that so superbly meets the current needs of paediatric therapists.”
Professor Patrice L. Weiss, Ph.D, OT, the founding director of the University of Haifa’s Laboratory for Innovations in Rehabilitation Technology
Growing with Timocco
Growing with Timocco is a package of five fun educational games designed for children with special needs and developmental delays to practice and improve their motor and cognitive abilities.