Multisensory Environment for Proprioception Improvement in Children with Down Syndrome

Name: Nicolas Jacobo Valencia Jimenez
Type: PhD thesis
Publication date: 05/03/2020

Namesort descending Role
Anselmo Frizera Neto Advisor *
Teodiano Freire Bastos Filho Co-advisor *

Examining board:

Namesort descending Role
Anselmo Frizera Neto Advisor *
Eliete Maria de Oliveira Caldeira External Examiner *
Glauco Augusto de Paula Caurin External Examiner *
Patrick Marques Ciarelli Internal Examiner *
Thomaz Rodrigues Botelho External Examiner *

Summary: Down Syndrome (DS) is one of the most common genetic disorder worldwide and the most common cause of intellectual disability, which generates problems regarding the functionality and independence to perform Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). Most of the impairments associated with DS are thought to originate from a sensory dysfunction, i.e., the fact that the sensory stimuli are badly processed and integrated. There are few studies about the effects of a virtual environment-based intervention applied to motor development, postural control or proprioception improvement in children with Down Syndrome (CwDS). This research aims to verify the effects of an intervention protocol with Virtual Environment (VE) through a game platform based on an RGB-D cameras arrangement to train proprioception in CwDS.
Thus, this Ph.D. Thesis provides a new approach of a game-based system through a Multisensory Environment (MSE) using automated analysis of corporal movements with a set of RGB-D cameras. This research aims to verify the effects of an intervention protocol to train proprioception in CwDS. The system is implemented following the requirements raised by psychologists and physical therapists. The system is proposed as a complement to conventional therapies, providing support to professionals in the area to generate objective
parameters for analysis during physical training and therapy. The main contributions of this research are: (i) An exploratory study with a Smart Mirror Environment (SME) platform to provide visual feedback and a proprioception assessment to CwDS. (ii) The implementation of a markerless multicamera-based system to measure movement parameters, in order to reduce errors and inaccuracies related to self-occlusion issues, generating parameters as positions, joints angular amplitudes, velocities, and accelerations of fifteen body joints. (iii) The development of a clinical intervention based on a game platform that uses parameters of the markerless camera-based system, generating a new scenario in aid technological tools focused on the Down syndrome population.
The results obtained with this study confirm that Multisensory environments are a promising tool to be incorporated into the rehabilitation and training process of patients with proprioception dysfunctions as well as an intervention system that helps children with DS to develop their skills, and at the same time providing objective parameters about their progress.
Keywords: Serious games, Virtual environment, Children with Down syndrome, RGB-D cameras, Motor development, Assistive devices.

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