Saturday, December 05, 2015

Wii Fit Games for Children with Coordination Problems

Bill Yates
Brain Posts
Posted 30th October 2015

Among the types of development problems of childhood is developmental coordination disorder or DCD.

In DCD, children show delay and subnormal performance in coordinated motor skills.

This may be noted as a general tendency of clumsiness with difficulties in activities such as catching a ball, using scissors, handwriting or riding a bike.

Computer games such as the Nintendo Wii platform provide a method to improve a variety of motor and coordination skills in a fun environment.

A South African team recently published a study comparing children with and without DCD on motor learning using the Wii ski slalom game.

In this study, the Wii ski slalom game was integrated into a school classroom setting. Children with and without DCD engaged in 20 minutes of the ski slalom game twice a week for five weeks. Performance in the game and on a motor assessment battery was assessed at baseline and at the end of the training period.

The key findings from the study were:
  • As expected children with DCD performed more poorly on the Wii ski slalom game at baseline
  • Both groups showed evidence of motor learning throughout the training period. The amount of improvement was not different in the DCD group compared to control children
  • Both groups improved performance on a Yoga balance skill task
  • Skill improvement in the DCD on the Wii game platform transferred to improvement in the standardized motor assessment battery
  • Children in both groups rated the Wii ski slalom game as "super fun" or "fun"

The authors conclude that video games "may have the potential to be a valuable additional tool in intervention" for children with DCD.

Children with DCD show motor and balance learning with computer game interventions. Identifying these children early and intervening with enhanced coordination learning activities may significantly reduce the gap with typically development children.

Readers with more interest in this topic can access the free full-text manuscript by clicking on the PMID link in the citation below.

Photo of downtown Tulsa with impressionism filter is from the author's photo files.

Follow the author on Twitter@WRY999.

Smits-Engelsman BC, Jelsma LD, Ferguson GD, & Geuze RH (2015). Motor Learning: An Analysis of 100 Trials of a Ski Slalom Game in Children with and without Developmental Coordination Disorder. PloS one, 10 (10) PMID: 26466324.

See the original article:

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