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Enabling Engineering

The Need

Children with physical and/or developmental disabilities participate in physical therapy (PT) and occupational therapy (OT) activity programs over extended periods of time to learn new skills and maintain strength and range of motion. The biggest factor predicting rehabilitation success is the amount of time spent practicing, but children find it challenging to adhere to boring activity programs. Lack of practice leads to functional deterioration and reduced quality of life. Using technologies such as virtual reality (VR) gaming systems in rehabilitation motivates children to enhance practice dosage. However, many VR systems are expensive and inaccessible to young children or those with significant disabilities.


The Project

The FITBoard (Fun Interactive Therapy Board) is a rehabilitation tool consisting of a tablet and boards with touch keys that parents can configure in different ways. Toys and other inter faces are attached to the keys to control sounds, videos, or games. The FITBoard will motivate children to engage in repetitive practice of functional head, body, arm or leg movements, depending on its configuration. The team is now evaluating FITBoard’s usability among a sample of children, parents, and therapists in two rehabilitation settings. The team will assess users’ interaction with the FITBoard and evaluate factors that may impede or facilitate its use in rehabilitation. The team’s findings will inform future research. Ultimately, the FITBoard can be integrated into interventions to increase practice dosage, enhance outcomes and improve quality of life for children with disabilities.


Current Status

This project is in the clinical testing phase.