MOTHERS OF CHILDREN WITH DOWN SYNDROME LEARN ABOUT THERAPY WITH VIRTUAL REALITY
THE HUMAN MOTOR CONTROL LABORATORY, LOCATED CLOSE TO THE KINESIOLOGY CLINIC, BEGAN A CYCLE OF TRAINING COURSES.
July 21, 2017
Virtual reality therapy for children with Down syndrome is coming from the laboratory to the schools and homes, with positive results in the postural improvement and mobility and, therefore, in the daily routine of these children.
It all started in the Human Motor Control Laboratory, led by researcher Valeska Gatica, who last year convinced Andrea Leyton to do her graduation thesis on this therapy. Its beneficial effects were validated and, on this basis, the proposal to initiate a knowledge transfer and linking with the community phase was born.
"The therapy improves the perceptual motor ability and sensory qualities in children and that translates into improving their movements in general," said the academic. On this same point, she explained that the causes are not clear with regard to the slowness these children have, but it has been proved that this difficulty can be modulated by applying sensory stimuli that the brain perceived in a better way so that decisions concerning movement are made faster. Virtual reality is used to this end.
"It is very entertaining, very playful and sensorial, this makes it very motivating and this is another aspect of importance to generate changes in the central nervous system," said the specialist.
The Human Motor Control Laboratory is transferring this knowledge to the community through courses that already have started in public schools that receive children with different abilities - the first one at the España School in Curicó - and with parents motivated to learn and apply this therapy in their homes, in support to the rehabilitation of their children.
Enthusiasm and gratitude
A group works on Thursdays at the laboratory. They are the mothers of children who participated in the experience during the development of the thesis in 2016, and others joined this year. Among them - nine in total - the enthusiasm for learning and the gratitude for the possibility opened for their children predominate. Some are students from the Unpade School and many attend Down Space, where there is a more playful work.
"When we were invited to participate, we raised the idea of replicating the knowledge on a larger scale to apply at our headquarters, with trained professionals and mothers trained to do the same later in their homes. The view so far is that the therapy has been super good because it improved the posture of children with a series of advantages that it has," said Maria Jose Barrueto, whose son goes to Unpade, a garden of the Integra organization, and also to Space Down.
Liddy Wilson, another mom who is being trained, does not get tire of repeating how happy she feels with this work carried out by the University and that it is "incredible". "These classes are wonderful, I come very happy, I leave things I do in order to be here, the teacher is great, the students are fantastic and hopefully this will continue until the end of the world."
"I am a nurse, but I feel that I have returned to the university with what they are teaching. This virtual reality I find it wonderful. For children who do not leave the cell phone, computer or tablet, is going to be like learning by playing or playing by learning. These are the tools of the present era", she emphasized.
Together with recognizing that there is a great evolution with this innovative therapy, she noted that there is also a favorable change at the social level because there is a greater acceptance of persons with disabilities, unlike in past decades when children with Down were not taken into account. “Magdalena, my six-year-old daughter, feels herself super welcomed everywhere," she said.
Laura Quiroz, another mom, can already compare the benefits of the virtual reality therapy. "The postures of my son improved; now he walks more upright. Before, he was very slow and when we got off from the car, for example, he looked carefully if he was going to fall. Now he feels more secure when walking and he also lost weight, perhaps because it has greater mobility,"
"My son is happy, he is very good at walking and he goes everywhere. We are very happy with this therapy and we were very happy when we learned that they were going to taught us parents how to continue to support our children at home," she said.
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