It has been a desire for a long time of giving our autistic son something to keep him occupied. I have tried computer games. I could get him to use the mouse and also keyboard to some extent. He also loved the Zac Browser to browse the net. There remain some challenges here. He tends to mis handle the CDs / DVDs reducing their life span. He also tends to be repetitive, in that he will play the same level or same game over and over. Their are some CDs he has not let go for 7 years !! The music in them or certain animations give him some kind of excitement and he loves to repeat the same. I have always wanted him to play some video games. Somehow he does not correlate the use of the arrow keys with the movement of the object on the screen. If only their could be a more intuitive input device. My previous post on the sixth sense technology was on visual clues. That will take a while to hit the markets. So when I heard of Wii by Nintendo, I was excited. The other day we went out to Reliance Time out and could see one working. My initial gut feel; it will work. It will need some amount of training him and insisting him to stay. But if we can achieve that, he will have a whole new world of entertainment and exercises too.
Ok for those who are not familiar with Wii here are a few lines. Its a suite of video games that are controlled not by the typical mouse pads or controllers that come with play station etc but by wireless controllers. The player actually moves the controller in the way he would actually play a game. For instance, throwing a ball in bowling or hitting a tennis ball. So here the player will have to hold the controller, stand few steps away from the screen, and move his arms as though he was throwing the real thing. Same with tennis. One has to swing the hand in a forehand or backhand motion, based on the movement of the ball on the screen. More intuitive and will also exercise the body. No more sitting on a couch for ever. There is also a WII fit plus, an extension that lets u play with the intention of exercising. Includes routines like yoga etc. It also monitors your weight and exercise routine. ( There is a wireless balancing pad on which you need to stand to weigh or exercise)
My initial apprehensions. The controller is like a TV remote. Could they have put smaller batteries or made more tinier controllers, each for a different game. Hence you could tie it to wrist, rather than hold it in the hand. Especially if you are pretending to hit a ball, there is a great likelihood that a child with special needs will release the grip on the controller. Though they are giving an arm band to tie it to the hand, it may not be too easy. I tried making him play at the outlet, he did try .. so lets see. Anyway, I have decided to get him one. Then I will be forced to make the investment pay and get him to use it !! It is the best that I have found for a long time. It also has titles like WII music which may make him interested.