Possible Link Between a Video Game and the Reduction of Autism Symptoms

Nintendo Wii to the Rescue Again?

As a brand focuses on gaming wellness, we love the opportunity to speak on how video games as a whole could be helping people. In the article “Could A Video Game Help Reduce Autism Symptoms” by Shaun Heasley of Disability Scoop, we’ll look at how a balance-training video game on the trusty Nintendo Wii could be helping autistic children. From the article, it discusses that from new research may point to both a reduction of symptoms and an improvement in posture for adolescents with autism.


The Study

According to the article, the study, published in the journal, Brain Communications, observed 34 people age 13-17 with autism and 28 without. These individuals were randomly assigned to play a specially designed balance game or to play sedentary video games 3 times per week. Those playing the balance game were asked to hold yoga and tai chi poses on a balance board while an image would get brighter on screen the longer the positions were held. At the halfway point of hour-long sessions, these participants could move on to other video games.


The article states that when the sessions ended, participants asked to hold the poses on the balance board could do so 36 seconds longer. MRIs before and after the balance training also showed changes in the brains of those who participated in it. Interestingly, the article states that the changes were different in those who did and did not have autism.

Specifically regarding those with autism symptoms, according to their caregivers, differences were moving from severe to moderate in terms of severity as findings indicate. However, the article states that “researchers did not see any difference in daily living skills for those who participated in the intervention.”

Hope is not lost, though. According to Brittany Travers, an occupational therapy professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who was involved with the study, the article states that she mentioned motor control issues being predictive of more severe symptoms and having difficulties with daily living skills. That said, she believes it could take longer for changes in daily living skills to occur.

For more good news, the article also states the following regarding results, “After six weeks of balance training using a specially designed Nintendo Wii game, adolescents with autism showed better stability in their posture and significantly reduced severity in symptoms related to social communication, repetitive behaviors and restricted interests, according to findings published recently in the journal Brain Communications.”

Regarding those in the control group, the participants saw no improvement in motor control or autism symptoms according to the article and the study’s findings.







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