Eat & Move-O-Matic

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Exergaming and autism

Studies have shown that playing video games can help develop social and spatial ability skills in patients with severe learning disabilities or other developmental prognoses, including autism and impulsive or attention deficit disorders (Durkin, 2010).  Physical exercise has been shown to decrease repetitive behaviors in autistic children and improve cognitive function across the life-span. So, can exergaming have a positive impact on autistic children?

A new study – involving twelve children with autism spectrum disorders who completed a control task and an acute bout of Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) and ten additional children who completed an acute bout of cyber cycling – found that repetitive behaviors significantly decreased following the exergaming conditions compared with the control condition (Anderson-Hanley, Tureck & Schneiderman, 2011).

Durkin, K. (2010). Videogames and young people with developmental disorders. [Article]. Review of General Psychology, 14(2), 122-140. doi: 10.1037/a0019438

Anderson-Hanley, C., Tureck, K., Schneiderman R. (2011). Autism and exergaming: effects on repetitive behaviors and cognition. Psychology Research and Behavior Management, (4), 129 – 137.

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Funding Information

© 2013. NMSU Board of Regents. All rights reserved. This project was supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture through the National Research Initiative (Grant #2008-55215-18837).

About Us

The Exergames Unlocked project includes a multi-state team of accomplished media education researchers, exercise physiologists, medical professionals and doctoral students. Contributing members are researchers in their fields and have helped launch the use of exergames as tools to combat obesity in their communities and beyond. New Mexico State University researchers and their partners have been funded to research the impact of exergames, develop specific recommendations for exergame use, and implement exergaming programs. As part of that project, this website provides access to resources based on research, sample projects, and input from the exergaming community. For more information, contact the project director: Dr. Barbara Chamberlin, Professor, New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service
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Why Exergames Unlocked?

Why Exergames Unlocked? Exergames are videogames that encourage physical activity. Here, you’ll find the best and most effective exergames, as well as strategies and recommendations on using them with different audiences and in different locations.