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The Benefits of Pokemon For Occupational Therapy

Posted by Brian Spence on Aug 8, 2016 8:00:00 AM

Pokemon Go, Occupational Therapy, OTA, Allied Health, OTThe latest video game craze was not designed for the typical couch potato gamer. Pokemon Go introduces actual exercise into the cyber game world. The Pokemon Go website tells us to "Get Up and Go".

Millions of people have joined the hunt to capture the little guy. He can be found in trees, malls, driveways, parks, and any other place you might imagine, and some places you wouldn't.

Easter Seals Oklahoma is using the phone app to help its occupational therapy patients who have cognitive disabilities. Adults as well as children are encouraged to participate.

When playing the game you have to move, you have to walk; your thumbs alone won't win the game. A car won't work, nor will running in place - only walking will do the trick.

Therapists there say that it helps with visual perception skills, following directions and instructional cues, fine motor skills, impulse control and social skills in taking turns with peers. They are seeing benefits among their patients. Movement activities are especially helpful for children to interact with the environment. Spatial awareness is enhanced by playing the game.

Combining learning with fun is an effective way to develop and refine skills. Dealing with obstacles helps patients orient and better perceive their relationship to the physical world. Being out in the fresh air is a change from the clinical setting and can reduce anxiety.

Other health professionals have employed Pokemon to help sick children. Mott's Children's Hospital finds that it gives pediatric patients some exercise. It's easy to get discouraged when you're in the hospital for an extended period, and the kids spend a lot of time watching television. JJ Bourchard of the top ranked Michigan facility says “This app is getting patients out of beds and moving around.”

Caution is required when engaged in the game. People have been known to walk into signs and trip over curbs. But if you are having a difficult time making your goal of 10,000 steps, this might be the answer.

For more information about this or related topics, visit the Healthcare section of our blog. To explore employment positions in the Allied Health arena, please contact us.

Courtesy of Matthew Corley / Shutterstock.com

 

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