UW–Madison research using video games to improve balance gets media attention

January 31, 2022

The work of a UW–Madison analysis staff together with the College of Schooling’s Brittany Travers has been featured within the information just lately.

Photo of Brittany Travers

Travers is an affiliate professor of occupational remedy within the College of Schooling’s Department of Kinesiology, and a lead researcher for UW–Madison’s Waisman Heart. She is a part of a staff that has been researching utilizing video video games to enhance steadiness for adolescents with autism spectrum dysfunction.

The research, published in the journal Brain Communications, has discovered that steadiness coaching utilizing an on-screen recreation and steadiness board helped enhance the steadiness of adolescents with autism ages 13-17. It additionally improved their posture and decreased the severity of their autism signs.

Speaking with Wisconsin Public Radio just lately concerning the research, Travers famous that steadiness management seems to plateau earlier in children with autism than these with out. She mentioned she and her colleagues are focused on discovering higher interventions that enhance children’ motor expertise, they usually needed to make steadiness coaching enjoyable.

“There’s quite a lot of ways in which one may prepare steadiness, however we’re actually attempting to capitalize and gamify a few of these steadiness results as a way to make it enjoyable and attention-grabbing and one thing that folks really need to do, not one thing individuals really feel like they must do,” Travers mentioned.

In a report for the Capital Times, Travers mentioned that the research is exclusive as a result of it reveals “how motor interventions and intensive motor coaching might affect autistic people, each when it comes to the mind and when it comes to conduct.”

Brittany Travers with a study participant during a training session for a video game that helps improve balance in autistic teenagers.
Brittany Travers with a research participant throughout a coaching session for a online game that helps enhance steadiness in autistic youngsters. (Photograph by Andy Manis)

After six weeks of steadiness coaching utilizing the sport, members elevated the time they had been in a position to maintain a pose on one foot by a median of 36 seconds — “sufficient time to stop slipping on ice or moving into a tub or dropping steadiness,” Travers mentioned.

As well as, research members confirmed enhancements of their posture after collaborating within the coaching classes, and fogeys reported decreases within the severity of their youngsters’s autism signs.

A takeaway for Travers, she mentioned, is that motor coaching doesn’t must be boring or tedious.

“There are good and wholesome issues we will do for ourselves and our our bodies, however typically we want that further motivation for us to really do it,” she advised the Capital Instances. “One of many vital items right here is that there might be interventions for autistic people which can be motivating and enjoyable.”

Be taught extra about this vital work by studying the total studies from Wisconsin Public Radio and the Capital Times.

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