The Benefits Of Gaming Therapy For Children With Cerebral Palsy — Scope | Disability forum
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The Benefits Of Gaming Therapy For Children With Cerebral Palsy

Richard_Scope Posts: 3,615 Scope online community team
edited April 2021 in Cerebral palsy


Image of a person gaming on a PC

Around 73% of Americans two years and older play video games, accounting for 17% of entertainment and 11% of total time spent on recreation. Gaming has many benefits, including brain stimulation, stress relief, and improvement of problem-solving skills. Among children with cerebral palsy (CP), gaming can become a form of rehabilitation therapy. It offers enjoyable opportunities to participate in physical activities, improves hand dexterity, controls body movements, and develops social skills. If regulated properly, gaming therapy can become an effective method of enriching the quality of life of young individuals.

Motor Skills And Muscle Development

Cerebral palsy affects the motor skills and muscle tone of children, preventing coordinated and purposeful body movement. Therefore, it is vital to identify activities for kids with cerebral palsy that target muscle tone, coordination, balance, strength, and flexibility. Gaming is one form of physical therapy that can enhance the motor skills and hand coordination of children with CP. However, one of the main considerations when introducing a child to video games is to choose the appropriate gaming system.

For example, movement-based or active video gaming systems are suitable for kids with CP.  They encourage your kids to do repetitive movements and keep them engaged due to the rewards they expect to receive when unlocking new levels or games. Also, your child is going to improve hand dexterity and motor coordination when they use controllers, swing their arms, dance to music, or play sports. In other words, kids who participate in virtual gaming therapy can enhance their motor skills performance through increased intensity, frequency, and duration of movements.

Social Skills And Independence

Another significant benefit of playing video games is the development of social skills. When playing with siblings or friends, your kids are encouraged to talk and communicate with others. Whether conversing about strategies to get more points or simply sharing a few laughs, gaming is a pleasurable activity for children. Above all, playing video games can enhance their social and speech skills.

Furthermore, physical therapy through gaming can also help develop their independence if they can do things on their own. Controlling a mouse, standing, balancing, and coordinating movements in relation to a game give your children opportunities to develop their physical condition, imagination, and creativity.

Gaming therapy can become an effective and complementary rehabilitation treatment for children with cerebral palsy. It improves motor abilities, balance, dexterity, and coordination, as well as helps in cultivating social and speech skills

Specialist Information Officer and Cerebral Palsy Programme Lead

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  • Globster
    Globster Community member, Community Volunteer Host, CP Network, Scope Member Posts: 2,311 Disability Gamechanger
    I agree with you gaming has improved my cerebral palsy 

    I am a Community Volunteer Host. Please note: if I use the online community outside of its hours of administration, I am doing so in a personal capacity only.

  • MartaOD
    MartaOD Community member Posts: 7 Listener
    Nice article. I would add that also children with severe cerebral palsy, who are not able to control their movements or to relate with peers, can enjoy gaming. We have  experimented with eye-tracking and customized games and children are really having fun.
  • leeCal
    leeCal Community member Posts: 7,550 Disability Gamechanger
    edited April 2021
    I too agree having watched my son struggle at first he improved no end over years playing a football video game. He rarely won but that didn’t matter to him at all. Definitely helped with his fine motor skills and attention span.

    it was also something we could do together and so it helped with bonding too.

    “This is my simple religion. No need for temples. No need for complicated philosophy. Your own mind, your own heart is the temple. Your philosophy is simple kindness.” 
    ― Dalai Lama XIV


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