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Toys and technology for rehabilitation in cerebral palsy patients
Date:7/1/2008

ichols, B.I.D., professor of industrial design at RISD, and in the fall of 2006, the students in Crisco's class were challenged to design therapeutic toys. At the end of the course they then applied to the Rhode Island Science and Advisory Technology Council (STAC) and obtained a grant providing additional funding for the project. Specifically, they were hoping to develop toy controls for games that would rely on the use of the wrist and forearms for children with CP who lack the fine motor skills normally required of hand-held game controllers. The team collaborated with Susan D'Andrea, Ph.D., of Afferent Corporation, David Durfee, Ph.D., of Bay Computer Associates to further develop the ideas born out of the students' assignment, and then worked with Cornerstone Prototype Development.

Crisco says, "There were a lot of design iterations, but in the end, there were about 15 prototypes and concepts that came out of the class." The efforts were then focused on designing a hand-held control that could be used by the CP patients as both fun and therapeutic and would increase the use of the affected limb, helping to strengthen the muscles. At the same time, the researchers wanted to be able to obtain information from the use of the toys. So the controls are equipped with data logging capabilities that allow the researchers to study the extent of use and the arm movements and also measure the outcome.

The project has now reached its study phase, during which 20 children with CP between ages 5 and 12 will be enrolled. Each child in the study will be provided with a toy to be used at home as part of their normal play. Once a month, their progress will be charted, looking at markers for functional gain.

"We are proud to be able to support the innovative work done by Hasbro Children's Hospital to develop interactive toys that can actually serve as rehabilitative therapy for children with cerebral palsy," said Eileen Howard Dunn, Vice President,
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Contact: Nancy Cawley
ncawley@lifespan.org
Lifespan
Source:Eurekalert

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