Wii Fit could help children with movement difficulties

Monday, 14 January 2013

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Use of the Nintendo Wii Fit could help improve the development of children with movement difficulties, according to a research collaboration between Sussex Community NHS Trust, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust and academics at Goldsmiths, University of London and Oxford Brookes University.

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

The research team studied two groups of children with movement difficulties or DCD over a one month period. One group spent ten minutes, three times a week using the Wii Fit during their lunch break, while the other group took part in their regular Jump Ahead programme – a programme aimed at helping children develop motor skills.

The results found significant gains in motor proficiency, the child’s perception of their motor ability and reported emotional well-being for more of the children in the group using the Wii Fit three times a week than those in the group not doing so.

Professor Hill believes the study provides preliminary evidence to support the use of the Wii Fit within therapeutic programmes for children with movement difficulties.