Eye-tracking technology in children with dyskinetic cerebral palsy: the efficacy of a five-week intervention on eye-tracking performance, quality of life and participation

Bekteshi Saranda
KU Leuven

Introduction: Children with dyskinetic cerebral palsy (DCP) lack fine motor control and are restricted in using conventional computers. Eye-tracking technology is a promising computer interface in severe disabilities, however, evidence-based knowledge in DCP remains scarce. This study aims to investigate the impact of a five-week eye-tracking intervention on performance, quality of life (QOL), and participation.

Patients and Methods: Ten participants with DCP, 4 to 13 years old (mean age 8y 4mo, SD 3y 1mo) were recruited. The Tobii PCEye Mini eye-tracker was used for data collection and the Sensory Guru Eye-Fx software to assess performance. Success rate was computed by the sum of obtained targets. Questionnaires investigated the impact of eye-tracking on QOL and participation. Non-parametric statistics were used to report pre- and post-intervention differences.

Results: The significant increase in success rate from baseline to follow-up (p=0.014) implies an improvement of eye-tracking performance over time. Median values of the success rate increased after the five-week intervention both at a sample (p=0.046) and participant (n=9) level. Clinicians reported a positive impact of eye-tracking technology on QOL and participation. Increased levels in confidence, self-esteem, social well-being, and active participation during therapy were observed post-intervention.

Conclusion: Eye-tracking performance improved after a five-week intervention. This technology shows the potential to be a successful computer interface for children with DCP. Additionally, the use of eye-tracking assistive technology can lead to a better QOL and higher participation of the target group. Future eye-tracking intervention studies including a larger sample size are warranted.

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