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Hemispatial Neglect: Ideas & tips for using interactive Gaming for treatment

Medically reviewed by Liron Shnitzer, OT — written by PLAYWORK.

Side neglect, also known as hemispatial neglect, is a fascinating cognitive phenomenon that can significantly impact an individual's perception and attention. It occurs when a person fails to recognize or be aware of stimuli in specific areas of their visual field. It manifests as a failure to be aware of or pay attention to objects, people, or events on one side, often the left side, of their surroundings. This intriguing condition can have far-reaching effects on daily activities and interactions.

One way to address and treat side neglect is through the innovative use of interactive gaming. This technology has been making remarkable strides in various fields, including healthcare and rehabilitation.

Imagine the scenario where a person with side neglect is introduced to such an interactive gaming environment. Within this space, they can engage in activities and simulations specifically designed to encourage balanced visual exploration. For instance, a game reflected on a screen might present the user with various objects and stimuli on the affected left side. By actively engaging with the game, the individual is motivated to direct their attention to the neglected side, gradually retraining their brain's visual processing capabilities.

In the example video, the smart playball system screen is located on the left with an active motor requirement to activate the game while referring to the left side.

Tips for therapists!

Ways to increase the effectiveness of the use of the smart playball:

1. Increase game volume: The game sound may increase the attention of the patient and thus increase the time he can to relate to the stimulus.

2. Stand on the patient's left side (next to the ball) to increase stimulation to the left side.

3. Ask the patient to indicate in which direction he moves the ball during the activity.

4. Let the patient put the ball back in the packing box at the end.

5. Perform repeated practice between treatments and monitor the progress and level of reference to the left space.

6. Ask the patient to describe in words the game instructions to raise awareness

The use of interactive gaming systems in the treatment of offers several advantages:

Engaging environment: these systems provide a highly engaging and motivating environment that can enhance a patient's participation and adherence to the rehabilitation program. The immersive nature of the gaming experience captivates attention and encourages active involvement, making the therapy sessions more enjoyable and productive.

Patient tailored approach: interactive gaming systems can be tailored to each individual's specific needs and progress. Therapists can customize the gaming experience, adjusting the level of difficulty, the complexity of visual stimuli, and the intensity of motor requirements. This personalized approach ensures that the therapy aligns with the patient's abilities and challenges them appropriately, facilitating progress and maximizing outcomes.

Real-time feedback: interactive gaming systems can provide real-time feedback and performance monitoring. Through advanced tracking technologies, the systems can record and analyze the user's visual performance measurements. This data can be utilized to assess progress, identify areas that require improvement, and guide therapy sessions accordingly.

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