As a pediatric physical therapist, I spend a quite a few hours of my day talking to children. Not a week goes by without one of my clients ecstatically describing a video game awaiting him at home. I know there is quite a bit of publicity out there about how video games cannot substitute for the authentic experience of playing outdoors. I wholeheartedly agree with the research that states today’s children need less sedentary video games and more concrete mental stimulation.
However, our world and our technologies have been changing. The way children experience their world today is not the same way we experienced it as children 30 years ago. Video games and virtual stimulation systems have become a major part of most rehabilitation and therapy programs across the country, especially those targeted to children. In my own years as a physical therapist, I’ve witnessed children with complex pain syndromes recover their bike riding ability, paraplegics regain their motor control, and patients with traumatic brain injuries improve their sense of balance, all through the help of video games. Physical therapists everywhere will agree that the right game can make a session more fun, while still achieving age-appropriate goals.
Today’s video games, with motion-sensitive controllers and antennae, are a fun adjunct to any fitness program.
Most of the active video games available today and used in rehabilitation facilities require physical movement and spatial awareness to move the characters on the screen. They can be child-friendly and easy to learn for certain patients, because they eliminate the weight of holding sports equipment and focus more on the motion used by large muscle groups. Read more