Saturday, October 24, 2009

"Wii-Hab" helps disabled children improve motor skills, movement

From KVEW-TV in Kennewick, Wash.:

MILTON-FREEWATER, Wash. -- It may seem like she's just playing a video game, but Arianna Fifield is going through her regular form of physical and occupational therapy.

"It intrigues me because I didn't suspect she'd be able to play this type of game" said La-ena Fifield, Arianna's mom.

The four year-old is one of 11 students with learning disabilities at the Eastside Learning Center in Milton-Freewater.

This year, they're using a Nintendo Wii to improve their movement and motor skills.

Teachers are calling it "Wii-Hab."

"It's a motivating and entertaining way to work with the kids on their goals and it's helping us document and support some of the deficiencies they're having" said Lon Thornburg, District Technology Specialist.

The students play simple running and jumping games using a foot pad.

And they say they're excited to play with the system because it doesn't feel like they're learning, but they are.

"This particular tool is a good example of hope you use sensory integration to facilitate language and balance" said Cynthia Smith, Therapy Coordinator.

Each student has individual learning goals that the Wii will help them accomplish.

And after just a few weeks of using the Wii, teachers and parents are already seeing results.

"Being able to interact with other things and also other people too" said Fifield.