8 Ways Gaming Can Benefit People with Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy

It can sometimes be hard to find accessible games for people with disabilities, but there are benefits to playing video games for people with Cerebral Palsy.

As a parent of someone, or person, with cerebral palsy, it might be hard to find accessible activities out there. However, resources and services are becoming more accessible to all.

Cerebral palsy can be caused by birth injuries caused by medical negligence, bleeding in the baby’s brain, reduced blood and oxygen supply to their brain, or an infection caught by the mother during pregnancy. That said, every person’s symptoms and severity could be different.

Either way, gaming has actually been proven to be great therapy for children with CP. Due to the mental and physical faculties required to win the games, it’s no surprise. In this article, we’ll explore eight ways gaming can benefit people with cerebral palsy. Take a look.

1.   Safety

Video games are relatively safe for people with cerebral palsy and lots of them can be done from the comfort of a chair. Seated video games and use of adapted controllers mean that not as much supervision is necessary when playing.

2.   Enjoyable

Video games have been found to be enjoyable for people with cerebral palsy and can be a great way to socialize.

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3.   Low-Cost

Active video games (AVG) provide a low-cost and commercially available system for many people. AVG includes Wii Bowling, Wii Tennis, Wii Boxing, and Dance Dance revolution. However, these games cannot be regarded as a replacement for more vigorous physical activity, as suggested by a physiotherapist or other medical professional.

4.   Engaging and Motivating

The willingness of patients to perform repetitive movements to increase their motor function is crucial. Video games offer great incentives to get moving, especially compared to other therapy options without this kind of appeal.

Video games can be engaging and motivating, meaning people with cerebral palsy want to play for longer. Specifically, adapted controllers might be better suited for the job. As some people with cerebral palsy can have weakened arms or wrists, adapted video controllers are easy to manipulate and require little finger control.

Some controllers do require a person to be touching the smart sensors on the controller which means they have to concentrate on doing this, keeping them engaged. This way, there will be fewer setbacks, creating a feeling of reward and achievement throughout gameplay.

5.   Therapeutic

Instead of therapy activities that are usually considered ‘boring’ by children and young people, video games can be a fun way to get therapy.  A study found that video games improved energy, motion, and muscle activity, as well as strengthening hands and wrists and developing finger control.

6.   Sibling Bonding

Many games are multiplayer or can be played online, which means they can be played with multiple players. This means you can play alongside friends or siblings which can help to make people with disabilities feel less isolated.

However, if video games don’t sound like they are for you or your child, there are other activities out there that can help to promote sibling bonding and have therapeutic benefits.

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7.   Pain Management

Cerebral Palsy is known for being a sometimes painful and debilitating disability. That said, because video games can be immersive and engaging, they are helpful for taking the mind off of any pain that is being felt.

8.   Improved Physical and Cognitive Wellbeing

Video games are said to be able to improve the physical well-being of people with cerebral palsy. A study has found that video games can improve upper body movement in people with cerebral palsy and, as it is motivating to continue to play video games, physical health improves and develops more than standard therapy.

In addition, another study found that people reported high levels of enjoyment when playing video games which enhances neuroplasticity and cognitive well-being. Wii Boxing, a good tool for encouraging and training faster wrist movement helps people with cerebral palsy to be more independent and can therefore improve cognitive well-being too.

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Need More Advice on Cerebral Palsy?

As you can see, there are many benefits to playing video games when you have CP. There is ever-emerging technology which means the systems are getting better and are beginning to overcome current barriers to videos games for children with physical disabilities.

That said, although video games have benefits to people with cerebral palsy and can encourage people to be more physically active, they should be played alongside other therapy specified by a physiotherapist or other medical professional to ensure the greatest benefits.

If you have recently given birth to a child with cerebral palsy or your baby has suffered a birth injury due to medical negligence, there are resources out there that can support you.

What’s more, if you have any games, services, or activities that are great for people with cerebral palsy, let us know in the comments below.

Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained medical professional. Be sure to consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if you’re seeking medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.

Photos by Nayeli Dalton on Unsplash, Jon Tyson on Unsplash, JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash, and Alex Haney on Unsplash.

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