Expanding Our Services With Video Games
New Service Announcement
Why Would You Add Gaming?
As pediatric Speech-Language Pathologists, we spend our days with children who learn through the art of playing. Contrary to what some adults might think, the benefits of play do not stop in the preschool years, rather, they continue to expand as do language, literacy, and learning.
From Board Games to Video Games
Adapting video games for our SLP goals and objectives was a natural extension of the table top and floor games (tools) which are traditionally used during our sessions.
Lori Savage Grayson has been surrounded by gaming for almost 30 years while raising her sons.
As a parent and a professional, she understands the benefits and challenges of adding gaming to this Center’s services; however, she believes the benefits are well established. As with all tools, how video game playing is implemented will determine its success as a new SLP tool at this Center.
In The Beginning
During the last several years, this Center introduced video games within our therapeutic SLP sessions with select patients, and we were able to document benefits for each child or teen.
At first, games were only permitted at the Center as a ‘show and tell’ item where each patient could share their game with their clinician. However, over time, the electronic games were used in therapeutic play during the SLP sessions.
A consistent observation was each child’s increased interest in following directions, reading, working math problems, and answering reasoning tasks. This seemed to be driven by the desire to beat the clock. Well, and to not score as an 80 year-old!
Overall, we noted increased motivation and participation, a willingness to attempt challenges with decreased frustration, increased flexibility in problem solving, and increased social interaction leading to positive shared experiences.
The skills introduced during the use of video games allowed for learning which could then be shifted outside of video game play. This is a win-win situation!
Why Expand Video Game Play?
Adding video games to our services will allow this Center to focus on a wide range of SLP skills. For example, selective and sustained attention, vocabulary and concepts, following social (game) rules, waiting, turn taking, understanding and using alternative choices, problem solving, reading, following directions, requesting, and social skills through the interactive games. This is only the beginning of skills addressed during our sessions.
During these past years, we looked for research within the SLP field and found this article: Enhancing the Therapy Experience Using Principles of Video Game Design, American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, February 2016.
This study focused on the “…six principles of contemporary video game design that increase player engagement…” in an effort to better understand how to make the most of each SLP session by extending (generalizing) these successful principles outside of video game play.
We would agree that implementing the video game design principles is worth pursuing further as an aspect of our SLP services.
Let’s Play MORE Video Games
During the previous years, we have implemented game play with the Nintendo DS, Wii, Wii U, and computer. Each system serves its own purpose and offers different games which focus on a range of skill building for our patients. We’ve had plenty of practice playing and now it’s time to amp up the Center’s list with more Nintendo Switch items at the top of the list!
This year, Children’s Communication Center will be exploring new games and accessories to increase the benefits and services for current and future patients.
The Nintendo Switch’s new Nintendo Labo has us excited since it is a hands-on building experience. The ability to create and build your own controller allows for endless ways to play a game. WHOA! Watch the video.
We believe this will offer our patients, both those who are familiar with LEGO bricks and those who are not, the opportunity to explore, construct, and customize their game play.
Two new games of interest coming out in 2018 are Detective Pikachu and Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. Both games involve waiting and problem-solving skills as the player works to figure out different types of puzzles. We plan to play-test these and other games before rolling them out as recommended games for our Center.
Why Go To E3?
As we enter our 25th year, we plan to send our Social Media and Technical Adviser, Zachary Grayson, to the Electronic Entertainment Expo, E3, this June, with the goals of play-testing new games and finding new devices that could benefit our patients and expand the value of our services.
We know that upon returning from E3, he will share a wealth of knowledge regarding new games on the multitude of video game platforms. This will allow us to develop the best plan for our new services by reaching a wider range of patients and expanding the benefits of our SLP services.
Zachary, your suggestions will determine our shopping, and our SLP friends are counting on you to persuade the Center to shop big!
The combination of traditional ‘low tech’ tools joined by ‘high tech’ tools, aka electronic games, provides Children’s Communication Center with SLP tools from A to Z.