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Virtual World, Changing Reality

“Health is the ability to adapt and self-manage” (Huber et al. BMJ 2011)

Gharam, a charming 14-year-old teen from Ras al-Amud in Jerusalem, has a simple wish: To be able to walk normally and go out with her friends. Like she used to before a horrific car accident.

After a very complex surgery and 3 months with a cast, Gharam visits ALYN Hospital for weekly occupational therapy sessions. She spends some of her time in the Virtual Reality (VR) room using products developed by Senserum, an ALYNnovation portfolio company.

The VR room is an inviting and welcoming room. Once the children put on their VR headset, they are transported to a world devoid of disabilities and difficulties. Instead, they are immersed in a game or action where they’re forced to move. Except they’re not forced- they WANT to so they can win the game or succeed at the task they’ve been given.

“It’s fun for me and I enjoy the VR therapy,” Gharam says with a smile. “Some of the other therapies cause me to become bored or are painful. In the VR room I move much more because I forget the pain and concentrate on the games and activities. Especially when I’m playing the Ninja game.”


Rehabilitation Through Gaming

Each day, 350 children with disabilities undergo pediatric rehabilitation, physiotherapy and occupational therapy at the hospital. Some of the products used were developed by ALYNnovation’s partners. Virtual games, highly requested by the kids, help make therapy a fun and interactive experience. They are empowered and feel and act like other children their age.

As the children work on motor and physical skills in the VR room, their therapists are testing the effectiveness of the ALYNnovation assistive technology products. Their expert, clinical feedback is crucial to the ultimate success of the products and allows our partners to make modifications for each type of therapy.

“Therapy can be physically challenging and demanding for the kids. The VR room increases their motivation and willingness to cooperate with us,” says ALYN’s head occupational therapist, Osnat Arbel. “Gaming allows us to match the specific task to the abilities of the child and the ultimate goal we are headed towards. Additionally, we receive data and insights which allow us to accurately measure the progress of each child.”

And Gharam? She is working hard toward her goal of walking without crutches. “In the VR room I am walking much better. I can’t wait to walk everywhere without pain, get back to school and hang out with my friends. I’m a ninja and can’t be beat!”