In today’s day and age kids are obsessed with technology. It’s all about social media, tv, movies, and video games. Kids these days enjoy virtual reality better than actual reality. As much as my generation is big into technology as well, it is quite the reality check when I say “Back in my day…we rode our bikes to the playground just to see who was there to play with” Nowadays kids tweet, text, or FaceTime their friends to meet up or talk. The most we had back then was MSN messenger that we had to sneak on the computer late at night to talk to our friends. Studies show how playing too many video games or watching too much tv is bad for kids, and for the most part I do agree. Kids should be outside in the fresh air getting exercise and enjoying life, not watching Inside Out for the 76th time. However, in my son’s case, video games are actually helping his development.
Along with his autism and speech delay, he has a slight fine motor skills delay. He has trouble riding a bike because he can’t hold on to the handle bars and move his feet to push the pedals at the same time. He can color with crayons but can’t draw certain shapes or any form of a letter. The biggest thing we’ve noticed is his finger functions. They all work correctly, but when it comes to signing he has a lot of problems completing signs that have finger motions. The only finger he can correctly use independently is his index finger; he has trouble even giving a thumbs up.
For my husband’s birthday we got the family a Wii U. From the second we set it up Eli was obsessed. we didn’t think he would be able to do it because of the hand and finger use required to use the controller (the wii U doesn’t use the normal wii remote, it comes with a hand held remote that looks like most video game controllers, picture in my above image.) We put in Mario Kart and taught eli the buttons used. It has been about a month and Eli can make it through three full laps of a Mario Kart race. He can use his right hand to hold down the gas pedal button at the same time he uses his left hand to move the car in side to side motions. He also started to use the button on the back of the controller to push out his weapons (bananas, shells, etc) at the same time he is also using the other fingers to drive the car. It is amazing what this video game did for his finger function. We still limit his video game use, and game time is rewarded by certain tasks or words/signs he uses. But I must say, I am thankful for this video game and what it is doing to help my son.