GABLE aims to create the first online video games service for youths with CP, which will be the hosting platform of games (exergames and non-exergames) focused on improving motor skills and visual-motor coordination for youths with CP. These games will leverage the latest advances in Computer Vision and image processing techniques, in order to improve accessibility. The platform will be constructed with social networking in mind, which will allow parents, care givers and patients to socialize in a common environment, to share experiences and advice, in an effort to provide the best care for CP patients. Caregivers would also be able to share best practices and lessons learned among themselves, which will help them provide a better service across Europe and beyond.

GABLE was born out of the idea that there is little or no help for youths with CP to play games specifically suited for their disability, while motivating them to play more and helping to rehabilitate their motor and motor-visual skills, and at the same time, introducing them to multiplayer/online gaming that would improve their social skills, and by extension, their social inclusion among their peers. Looking at the research done into these problems, we have seen that only baby steps have been made in an attempt to solve them. Several isolated demonstrations, in a research environment, have shown that there is great potential in exergames to be used as rehabilitation tools3,4,5, while others have shown that multiplayer can bring about social interaction leading to an improvement of social skills for disabled patients.

What GABLE wants to do is to create the first online platform for games for patients with CP, where they, and their care givers and parents, can have instant access to games, join a community of peers, and share their knowledge in order to provide the best possible help for all youth with CP.
The platform will be built around the idea that online or multiplayer games take advantage of the
motivational aspects of group activity, and can provide additional motivation and stimulate compared to single payer games. They are inherently promising for people with disabilities that are confined to their homes or care centres, so they have the potential to reach the widest audience. Online video games offer possibilities to reach out to people, as players have reportedly felt “more themselves” because they are not judged by their appearance, gender, age or, in this case, their disability7. The study shows that almost half of the players have met with online friends in real life, suggesting that online gaming is a social activity, or facilitates a social activity, and that many of them have developed long-lasting relationships with people they met online. The same behaviour has been seen in people with disabilities, where the freedom given by multiplayer/online games helped in developing meaningful relationships and builds a community outside the home.

We see no reason why the same concepts cannot be applied to youths with CP, albeit in a way that will be particular for them, taking into account the physical disabilities associated with CP.

eu_logo This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement Nº 732363