Should We Integrate Video Games Into Home-Based Rehabilitation Therapies for Cerebral Palsy?

Elaine Biddiss


Future Neurology. 2012;7(5):515-518. 

In This Article

Future Perspective

Moving forward, the evidence in support of VRTs for children and youth with CP is certainly positive, thus far, for both specialized and commercial gaming systems.[16–18] However, the quality of empirical data is not sufficient to conclusively evaluate the merits of VRTs for motor or visual–perceptual skill attainment.[16–18] Research opportunities in this emerging field are vast and range from systematically measuring changes in functional outcomes, use of and enjoyment/motivation of game-based rehabilitation over time in the home environment, to formulating a better theoretical understanding of the neural mechanisms underlying any changes in sensorimotor function that result. While off-the-shelf systems may have some clinical applications, there remains a need for more targeted systems that hone in on specific therapeutic goals and address the challenges of movement variability, therapeutic relevance and appropriate feedback, while providing a variety of high-quality games that maintain children's interest/motivation. Fortunately, recent advancements in low-cost motion capture technologies prompted by mainstream gaming markets has opened up a world of possibilities for the development of video games with real therapeutic potential that harness the availability and popularity of commercial systems, while incorporating the therapeutic acumen of clinicians and addressing the specific needs of the user population.