The ArgusNintendo Wii to help children with movement difficulties (From The Argus)

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West Sussex health expert praises use of Nintendo Wii in helping children with movement difficulties

A computer console could help improve the development of children with movement difficulties.

Regular use of balance games on the Nintendo Wii Fit could have a positive impact on the motor skills of children with developmental co-ordination disorder (DCD), researchers say.

Using the game could also help improve children's social and emotional behaviour related to the condition.

It came after UK-based researchers studied two groups of children with DCD or other movement difficulties over one month.

Dr Ian Male, of West Sussex Primary Care Trust, said: “Children with DCD experience poor motor and psychosocial outcomes.

“Interventions are often limited within the health care system, and little is known about how technology might be used within schools or homes to promote the motor skills and or psychosocial development of these children.”

As part of the pilot, one group spent ten minutes, three times a week, using the Wii Fit during their lunch break while the other group took part in 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 the children using the console over those who did not.

Lead researcher Professor Elisabeth Hill, of Goldsmiths, University of London, said the pilot study provides evidence to support the use of the computer within therapeutic programmes for children with movement difficulties.

She said: “The results provide interesting points warranting further discussion, particularly in view of the fact that many children have access to the Nintendo Wii Fit and may be using this system at home with minimal supervision.”

DCD is believed to affect 5% to 6% of children who are school aged and tends to occur more frequently in boys.

It is a condition which results in a child being unable to perform everyday tasks because of a delay in the development of motor skills or difficulty co-ordinating movements.

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