Computer Game Makes Breathing Therapy Fun for Kids

September 19, 2011

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. digestive (adj.) [dih-jes-tiv or dahy-] – relating to or helping in breaking down ingested food or digestion
Example: The stomach is part of the digestive system.

2. dread (v.) [dred] – to be unwilling to do or experience something
Example: He dreads being the only one to clean up after the big party.
3. tantrum (n.) [tan-truhm] – a sudden burst of bad temper, rage, or frustration, often childish 
Example: The child cried and threw a tantrum because her father refused to buy her toys.

4. kinetic (adj.) [ki-net-ik] – characterized by movement
Example: Running and dancing are kinetic activities.

5. endure (v.) [en-door or en-dyoor] – to go through an experience with patience and tolerance
Example: We had to endure watching the very boring movie.

Read the text below.

Computer games designed in the UK make breathing therapy entertaining for children who suffer with cystic fibrosis, a disease that fills the lungs and digestive system with mucus.

This idea comes from Dr. David Day whose 4-year-old daughter, Alicia, suffers from cystic fibrosis, along with around 9,000 people in United Kingdom. The said breathing therapy for the disease requires Alicia to breathe into a tube daily for around 10 minutes, an activity she and her father both dread. Alicia would often throw extreme tantrums whenever her father would sit her down to do the treatment.

To find a solution to this problem, Dr. Day sought the help of his colleagues at the University of Derby's School of Mathematics and Computing. Inspired by the technology used in kinetic game consoles like Wii, he and his colleagues developed games that could help Alicia endure her treatment. The games use devices that connect the breathing tubes to the computer so that characters and shapes on screen can be controlled by exhaling at a certain pressure.
The games turned Alicia's breathing therapy into something more fun. It also took some stress away from her father, Dr. Day. Aside from Alicia's favorite flower game, there are also games involving pirate ships and flying dragons.

Dr. Day hopes to secure more funding to develop the games and eventually have a version available for sale so that other parents and children can benefit from it too.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

·         Why do you think it is difficult to do medical treatment on children?
·         Can you think of other ways to make medical treatments less stressful and more fun for children?

Discussion B

·         What do you think are the advantages of using entertaining technology in medical therapy?
·         Have you (or someone you know) experienced going through therapy with the aid of technology? How was it?

September 19, 2011