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Serious Game-based Intervention for Children with Developmental Disabilities

[ Vol. 16 , Issue. 1 ]


Peter Kokol, Helena Blažun Vošner, Jernej Završnik, Joeri Vermeulen, Samaa Shohieb and Frank Peinemann*   Pages 26 - 32 ( 7 )


Background: Children with developmental disabilities may need support with motor skills such as balance improvement, cognitive skills such as vocabulary learning, or social skills such as adequate interpretation of emotional expressions. Digital interactive games could support the standard treatments. We aimed to review clinical studies which investigated the application of serious games in children with developmental disabilities.

Methods: We searched MEDLINE and Scopus on 05 May 2019 limited to the English language. We included people between two and 24 years of age who were affected by neurodevelopmental disorders and who received digital serious game-based medical interventions such as any computer- based or video-based games. We considered any study design reporting primary data. We used title, abstract, and full-text of journal articles to build diagnostic groups, and we described some selected specific game applications.

Results: The majority of the 145 relevant studies reported on autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), developmental coordination disorder (DCD), and disabilities affecting intellectual abilities (DAIA). 30 of the 145 studies reported a randomized design. We detailed six specific applications aimed at improving abilities in children with ASD, ADHD, cerebral palsy, and Down syndrome. We visualized the diagnostic groups by bibliographic mapping, and limited the text to the title and abstract of journal articles.

Conclusion: We identified promising results regarding anxiety reduction, stress regulation, emotion recognition, and rehabilitation. Currently, there appears to be a lack of clinical evidence that children with neurodevelopmental disorders can benefit from the application of serious games.


Children, game-based intervention, autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, developmental coordination disorder, disabilities affecting intellectual abilities.


Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Maribor, Maribor, Community Healthcare Centre Dr. Adolf Drolc, Maribor, Community Healthcare Centre Dr. Adolf Drolc, Maribor, Department Health Care, Knowledge Centre Brussels Integrated Care, Erasmus University College Brussels, Brussels, Faculty of Computers and Information, Mansoura University, Aldaqahlia, Children's Hospital, University Hospital, Cologne

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