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It may sound strange, yet true. Indian Doctors have advised children with developmental disorders to play video games. Dr Saifuddin Bijliwala, the director of Jumpstart, an occupational therapy centre in Mumbai for kids with developmental challenges believes that video games could help them in changing the nervous system.
Dr Bijliwala says, video games help kids with developmental disorders to become more dexterous, teaches them balance and how to use space. Infact, doctors from across the nation seem to be warming to the idea of using virtual reality in therapy and healing. The Indian Spinal Injuries Centre (ISIC) in Delhi set up a Nintendo Wii console six months ago.
Here, physiotherapy patients with upper limb problems may spend an hour each day playing sports games such as basketball with a remote which helps them develop upper body strength. Accident victims suffering from spinal trauma are seen playing skiing games that requires them to lean to either side of a balance board to direct the player’s movements.
Kataria adds that its effectiveness has been “proven globally.” In the US and UK, video games have been developed specifically for therapeutic use for ailments such as Parkinson’s disease and cancer.
In India, however, the concept, despite its affordability and proven benefits, hasn’t been that popular.
The importance of video games as a healer can be judged by the fact that a disease management company in Mumbai has distributed a PC game called Re-mission to over 2,000 patients in India so far. The game designed by a US-based NGO, helps players get to move a robot through the bodies of fictitious cancer patients, bashing cancerous cells. Things like sideeffects, early detection, proper nutrition and compliance of chemotherapy regimen are touched upon at various points.