All Party Parliamentary Group for Assistive Technology emphasise the importance of play for children

All Party Parliamentary Group for Assistive Technology Conference

Did you know that The Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) is the most widely sanctioned human rights treaty in history?

The United States is the only country that has yet to ratify this celebrated agreement – although it has signalled its intention to do so.

Article 31 of The Convention on the Rights of the Child sets out the child’s right to play as a fundamental human right, which highlights the importance of play within early child development.

The importance of play was emphasised at the All Party Parliamentary Group for Assistive Technology Conference last week.

Speaking at the All Party Parliamentary Group for Assistive Technology (APPGAT) Enabling Play Conference last week, Emma Lewell-Buck MP, the Shadow Minister for Children and Families, said: “Play is not an add on to education, it is an essential part of it.”

Delegates at the event highlighted the ability of play to help children develop:

 Independence and ability to make choices

 Self-confidence and self-efficacy

 Communication and social skills such as sharing, negotiating, the ability to resolve conflicts and self-advocacy skills

 Creativity and imagination


 Cognition and problem-solving skills

 Learning readiness and learning behaviours

 Ability to learn by doing, so that they can explore and experience the world around them, discover their own areas of interest and the passions they wish to pursue

 Ability to express their views and even frustrations through play, allowing an opportunity to gain a fuller understanding of their perspectives

Sensory Guru aims to ensure that all of the products that it produces will enable children to have access to play and gamified learning experiences – no matter what their disability is.

Products such as the Magic Carpet and Magic Mirror:

 Have multi-user recognition to support group interaction

 Can be accessed using several access methods, whether it be Eye Gaze, Switch, Touch, Gesture, Sound, or Mouse, ensuring children can access and control the system using their preferred access method and supporting active play

 Have their own app store – with hundreds of games that can be accessed and downloaded – this ensures that games can be set at the level of the individual and go beyond simple cause and effect games

 Stimulate and engage participants, creating an immersive environment that fires the imagination like never before

Karen Bratchell, Nurture Room Leader at St Joseph’s Specialist School and College, said that the Magic Carpet: “Has brought so much out of our learners, their imagination just runs absolutely wild. They are pretending to be animals hiding in caves or take their shoes off and swim across the fish pond app!”

If you would like to see the benefits Sensory Guru technologies could provide to your school or organisation, please contact us for a complimentary demonstration.

Article 31 of The Convention on the Rights of the Child

“That every child has the right to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.

That member governments shall respect and promote the right of the child to participate fully in cultural and artistic life and shall encourage the provision of appropriate and equal opportunities for cultural, artistic, recreational and leisure activity.”


Interactive games help to improve critical motor skills, research shows

Girl interacting with the Magic CarpetInteractive games, like Magic Carpet and Magic Mirror, can help children with disabilities improve critical motor skills, according to research.

The study, published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, found that that active games had a positive effect on helping to develop motor skills for many developmental disorders.

Project supervisor Dr Lisa Barnett, from Deakin’s School of Health and Social Development, said: “Not all children have the opportunity for typical development, with motor skills deficits a key characteristic of many developmental disorders, including children with intellectual disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down syndrome and Cerebral Palsy,” she said.

“Switching to active video games might bring benefits to children in these groups.

“These games involve moving the body during play and often mirror the naturalistic settings of the particular activity or sport, helping kids to master a particular skill in a low-pressure environment.”

Dr Barnett said active games could also help non-typically developing children feel more confident about their physical abilities.

“We found that children with autism significantly improved their perception of motor competence after playing these games,” she said.

“This might encourage more of these children to participate in sport, which we know can have huge benefits both physically and mentally.

“It’s important that all kids can join in on the playground, and that means helping them to establish the ABCs of movement, gross motor skills like balancing, running and jumping.”

Lead researcher Zoey Page, a Master’s student at Deakin’s School of Health and Social Development, said the study found the games provided much-needed motivation for children to participate in important physical therapy as they engage with them in a fun way.

“For many of these kids it’s also a way they can take part in a game with their siblings or friends on a more level playing field,” she said.

However, Ms Page said the research indicated that for the full physical benefits to be felt, children needed to be guided in these activities and that the best results were achieved when children received guidance from professionals such as from physical therapists.

Magic Carpet Magic Carpet and Magic Mirror are app-based interactive projection systems that aim to stimulate and engage participants of all ages and abilities.

The vivid and engaging visual displays encourage participants to move and interact with the content, which can help to improve participants fine and gross motor skills.

Magic Carpet and Magic Mirror can also help to develop:

 understanding of cause and effect

  balance and coordination skills

 visual acuity, concentration and attention

  sensory thresholds

  self-esteem and confidence

  speech and language

  cognitive function

  group interaction and communications skills

  ability to de-escalate, stay calm and relax

Want a free demonstration?  Contact us

Medical News Today: Study shows active video games could improve kids’ development