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Hocking et al 2022 GaitWayXR feasibility paper.pdf (1.28 MB)
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Feasibility of a virtual reality-based exercise intervention and low-cost motion tracking method for estimation of motor proficiency in youth with autism spectrum disorder

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posted on 30.03.2022, 05:26 authored by Darren HockingDarren Hocking, A Ardalan, Hisham Abu-RayyaHisham Abu-Rayya, Hassan FarhatHassan Farhat, A Andoni, R Lenroot, S Kachnowski
Background: Motor impairment is widely acknowledged as a core feature in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which can affect adaptive behavior and increase severity of symptoms. Low-cost motion capture and virtual reality (VR) game technologies hold a great deal of promise for providing personalized approaches to motor intervention in ASD. The present study explored the feasibility, acceptability and potential efficacy of a custom-designed VR game-based intervention (GaitWayXR™) for improving gross motor skills in youth with ASD. Methods: Ten children and adolescents (10–17 years) completed six, 20-min VR-based motor training sessions over 2 weeks while whole-body movement was tracked with a low-cost motion capture system. We developed a methodology for using motion tracking data to quantify whole-body movement in terms of efficiency, synchrony and symmetry. We then studied the relationships of the above quantities with standardized measures of motor skill and cognitive flexibility. Results: Our results supported our presumption that the VR intervention is safe, with no adverse events and very few minor to moderate side-effects, while a large proportion of parents said they would use the VR game at home, the most prohibitive reasons for adopting the system for home therapy were cost and space. Although there was little evidence of any benefits of the GaitWayXR™ intervention in improving gross motor skills, we showed several positive correlations between the standardized measures of gross motor skills in ASD and our measures of efficiency, symmetry and synchrony from low-cost motion capture. Conclusions: These findings, though preliminary and limited by small sample size, suggest that low-cost motion capture of children with ASD is feasible with movement exercises in a VR-based game environment. Based on these preliminary findings, we recommend conducting larger-scale studies with methods for improving adherence to VR gaming interventions over longer periods.

Funding

The study was sponsored by Playing Forward LLC.

History

Publication Date

01/12/2022

Journal

Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation

Volume

19

Issue

1

Article Number

ARTN 1

Pagination

13p.

Publisher

BMC

ISSN

1743-0003

Rights Statement

© The Author(s) 2022. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.