A new online learning portal and game, designed to help children afflicted with cerebral palsy, were recently recognized at the 2012 iAwards for “outstanding achievement in the ICT industry.” The Sunday Driver game is able to keep the attention of kids with cerebral palsy while simultaneously being used as a unique part of their therapy intervention.
Developed by students from Flinders University – Matthew Kuckhahan, Jingyu Liu, Yao Dai, Yongqun Yu and Yun Chen – this game not only entertains kids with cerebral palsy, but also helps them.
Studies have shown that people with cerebral palsy benefit from video game-playing, so this new game will be welcomed by cerebral palsy sufferers and their caretakers. A recent study published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation observed 17 children with cerebral palsy while they played four sporting games on the Wii – Bowling, Tennis, Boxing and Dance Dance Revolution – and found that the game-playing boosted repetitive movements while providing a fun environment, and general positive feedback.
In addition, those children with cerebral palsy who usually favored one side of their body tended to use both sides when playing the games. This indicated that the activity could be a way of achieving some of the therapeutic goals. Furthermore, Elaine Biddiss from the University of Toronto where the study took place, concluded that while game-playing should not be a replacement for other therapy, it could definitely work as a targeted therapy to focus on specific joints and movements. She added that “future development and optimization of AVG technologies may usher in a new age in physical rehabilitation where virtual environments provide an arena for neuroplastic change in the comfort of one’s home.” As well, they provide for a relatively cheap system which can be selected to work on specific therapeutic goals.