New iPad Games Treat Visual Impairment In People With Brain Conditions

By March 10, 2012

Tablets are ushering in a visual-based learning revolution thanks to inventive games and interfaces. Visual tablet learning is especially beneficial for those who cannot use computers, including young children and patients with brain trauma. Although there are a number of new apps available for visual tablet learning, a new app built especially for users with visual impairment due to autism, brain injury, and stroke delivers a unique game-based therapy that strengthens visual skills.

The Oculomotor Therapy Program app was created by developmental optometrist, Dr. Jeffrey Becker, and neuropsychologist Dr. Robert Bohlander. The two doctors treat patients with nervous system disorders associated with autism, head injuries, stroke, and other functional vision disorders at the NeuroSensory Center of Eastern Pennsylvania in Kingston, PA. Notes Dr. Becker:

The app came about because many patients who I deal with were unable to use a traditional computer which requires a mouse, keyboard, and knowing directions of left right etc. With this new app that works on the ipad the patient does not need to have these skills and but can still develop visual processing skills. it works very well with autism, stroke patients, head injury patients and individuals who have learning related visual deficits.

The app is not available for public use, and must be accessed with permission from an approved doctor. That’s because the OTP app is not just a user facing series of games. What makes the app especially useful as a therapeutic treatment is that doctors can monitor patient progress in real time, and change the parameters of the therapy, such as stimulus speed and frequency as the user plays the games.

oculomotor interface

The app can help patients with visual impairments that affect their quality of life including visual closure, visual motor integration, visual tracking, eye-hand coordination, three-dimensional perception.

There are currently 16 games, with more in development. Some of the games include the following:

Robot Scanner: The game combines pursuit eye movements and visual fixation to help with skills related to reading, writing, attention and sensory integration.

Picture Reveal: This visual closure activity helps the patient understand that part of a picture can be assembled to reveal the whole picture. It helps with the reading process and the “gestalt” form of visual perception, in which individuals perceive parts of objects and form whole objects based on the parts.

find the picture game

To gain access to the Oculomotot Therapy Program iPad games, you must contact the NeuroSensory Center at [email protected] for a list of approved practitioners.