Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Wii Therapy: Using the Wii and Wii Fit in Special Education

Yes, you heard me...Wii therapy.

Maybe you have already discovered it and I am slow to figure it out. I received a call from one of our directors telling me that there were two Wii's from a residential program that closed. "Do you think you could use them in some way with students for therapy?"
"Sure," I said, "I bet we can find some occupational therapy uses for them."
In my online search for some uses for the Wii in education and therapy, I found a blog, WiiHab - by the "Wii OT". In this blog it mentions how the Wii Sports and Wii Fit board can work to address coordination, bilateral integration, crossing the midline, motor planning and visual motor integration.
Another Blog, "All Together We Can," by Samuel Sennott, shares some great Wii resources. One is on how to use a Wii remote to build an interactive white board. Another is on adapting a Wii for access.

I am beginning to gear up and see how I can use this to work with students through our OT's. We will have two in our equipment center to check out now and use for therapy. I am excited about the potential.

If you have any resources or experiences to share, please comment or email me to let us know.

All the best to you!



Gary said...

The Wii controller (Wiimote) and the Wii Fit balance board are bluetooth devices that can talk directly to your computer. This allows us to develop custom software running on PCs using these innovative devices. My students have developed a game that allows kids who are VI to round up farm animals by riding a spring rocking horse. Another team developed a game that advances a race car along a track when the student moves in the way the PT prescribes. We've done a virtual "Beep Ball" game and a few others as well.

The device has great potential that goes far beyond adapting games from Nintendo.

Lon said...

I love this idea. Can you give us any links to some how to's and how to get started? You mentioned custom software. What do you use to do that software?
Thanks for some great information...

Mershon W. Hinkel, MSPH, OTR/L said...

Dear Lon,
Thanks for referencing my Blog. The Wii offers so many ways to engage and motivate kids. If able, Kids can stand independently or with assistance when playing baseball, They can swing the wiimote like a real bat (Be sure to use the remote safety jacket and safety strap!) - This action encourages crossing the midline, not to mention builds Eye-hand coordination! Have you tried it? You'll have fun and so will the kids.