Date of Award


Degree Type

Selective Evidence-Based Medicine Review

Degree Name

Master of Science in Health Sciences - Physician Assistant


Physician Assistant Studies


OBJECTIVE: The objective of this selective EBM review is to determine whether or not activities using virtual reality improve motor function in children with Down Syndrome.

STUDY DESIGN: A review of three randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published in English, one of which is also published in Spanish, between the years of 2010-2018.

DATA SOURCES: Three peer-reviewed journal articles were found using PubMed and CINAHL Plus. Articles were selected based on their relevance to the question and whether the outcome measured was patient-oriented.

OUTCOMES MEASURED: The articles analyze motor function in children with Down Syndrome through the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency-Second Edition (BOT-2) in two of the studies assessing motor proficiency, and the Test of Gross Development (TGMD-2) in one of the studies evaluating locomotor and object control skills.

RESULTS: Wuang et al. revealed that participants in the VRWii group utilizing Wii gaming technology had a significant greater pre-post change on motor proficiency compared to those that received only standard occupational therapy with p ≤ 0.0001. Lin et al. denotes significant improvement in motor proficiency following an exercise program consisting of both a treadmill and VR-based activity using Wii Sports with a p-value of 0.01. Gomez et al. found those who utilized a Wii Balance Board had significant improved postural control and thus improved motor skills compared to the control group with a p = 0.002.

CONCLUSIONS: This review provides evidence from three separate studies that incorporating activities using virtual reality can improve the motor function in children with Down Syndrome. None of the studies were able to strictly control activities at home during the time of the trial. Future studies should include activity diaries to closely monitor activities outside of the study as that could impact results, as well as further evaluate whether virtual-based activities could serve as a sole therapy or as an adjunct to the standard therapies already in use today.