Could Video Games Help Kids with Autism Exercise?

The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston released a study that found a novel and promising way to improve the fitness of children living with autism. This study looked at the impact of “exergaming,” a nickname given to a growing subset of video games that focus on the physical activity of gamers.

This study focused on Makoto Arena, which actually describes itself as a “life-changing tool” when used as a “therapy device.” While the nearly $15 thousand price tag for the device and size make it unsuitable for most homes, the device could easily be added to many therapeutic and medical facilities.

Per the UTMB:

“Through the use of the exergame called the Makoto arena, researchers showed improvement in response speed, executive function and motor skills among children with ASD. The research was conducted with 17 subjects with an autism diagnosis over 30 sessions for over 1,800 total attempts to hit the targets. The International Journal for Sports and Exercise Medicine recently published the findings.”

According to Claudia Hilton, an author of the study, researchers believe “that the exertion of participating in this type of game helps to improve the neural connections in the brains of these children.”

The UTMB hopes to secure funding to study a larger group of children in hopes of further confirming and understanding the results. As the university notes, children with autism often decline in physical activity over time and struggle with obesity at a rate that outpaces other children.

Hilton called the Makoto study “exciting” because it overcame the difficulty often found in helping children with autism to engage in physically exerting activities.

Video games have been unfairly targeted due to cultural stigma, despite the evidence for their possible health benefits at a broad spectrum of life stages. From brain activity in seniors to helping children focus in schools, video games may have a more useful role in our lives than we’ve yet acknowledged.

Studies like the one conducted by UTMB show an important step toward the recognition of creative and effective therapies for children that have been previously ignored because of unfounded assumptions and prejudices about emerging technologies.

Let’s hope this study receives the funding necessary to move forward and fully explore the possible benefits of exergaming on children living with autism.

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19 comments

Past Member
Past Member about a year ago

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Cici A
Cici Aabout a year ago

Hello, I am a Belgian mother of 17-year old son with autism. My son is verbal,followed normal education with help from me, his issues : shyness, constipation, concentration problems, problems with maturity, practically no friends because interaction with people is difficult, parasite, yeast on him, acne, kind of dandruff on top of his head. Since the age of 8, we have been trying a lot of natural supplements, hospitals med and i have wasted a lot of money trying to make him became a man and live freely without being intimidated by friends in the neighbor hood also to get him better and more focused for school matters and his general health. Nothing ever seems to pull through not until one day, i decided to share his situation to a very close friend of mine who claims there is an herbal man who cured her 12 years old son called Baba Alika and has also helped a lot of women to cure their children's Autism. quickly i contacted his email: babaalikahealinghome@gmail.com been giving to me by miss Ava, just to give him a test, i spoke to him he asked me to purchase his Autism roots herbs and seed oil which i did, he promised to send it as soon as purchased and thereafter i received it and start to use the Autism herbal med immediately on him for only 7 days instructed by Baba Alika. it was unbelievable after 21 days i was my son totally cured and free from Autism disgrace and embarrassment. There was so much improvement. He seems to get more

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Jean R
Jean R2 years ago

Yes!! They do work to improve mental skills. A study has proved that a child playing video games helps to improve the neural connections in the brains, and are quite much more intelligent than the normal one. As a parent, we should take initiative to allow kids to play video games like Pokemon sun, which are easily available on sites like https://www.press-start.com/fr

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Bravo j.
Past Member 3 years ago

Keep the ball rolling you have done the great job here.bouncy castle hire perth

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Ricky T.
Ricky T3 years ago

Interesting, thanks!

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Pauline C.
.3 years ago

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Neville B.
Neville B3 years ago

Another missed-off post - glad I checked back! Thanks Care2 : (

A lot of the kids I work with respond well to tv and video-games, though there's often issues within those responses. However, the more options we have to encourage stimulus, interaction and progression the better. If there's a software mechanic out there who can sort out a communal split-screen (say x 4) wii 'game' it would be appreciated.

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Paulinha Russell
Paulinha Russell3 years ago

Thank you

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RK Henry
RK R3 years ago

Appropriate video games teach as well as provide multi avenues of learning. Can't hurt.

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