Toronto Metropolitan University
Chan, Lillian - MRP.pdf (20.15 MB)

Cozy Games and Character-Driven Storyworlds: Effective Tools for Pediatric Voice Therapy

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posted on 2024-02-07, 17:37 authored by Lillian Chan


This project explores the development of new media and technology to aid speech-language pathologists (SLPs) specializing in voice therapy. These voice therapists have much fewer media resources available to them than SLPs who focus on language or speech therapy. Existing vocal therapy resources lack effective game interactivity and compelling character-driven storyworlds, both of which are known to increase motivation and engagement in learning. Clinicians do not have the expertise or know-how to utilize game mechanisms in the media they are developing, nor are they experts in the realms of story, fantasy, and experiential learning. Incorporating these missing elements to voice therapy games can potentially produce more effective rehabilitation tools that are more reliably used by children, leading to better treatment outcomes.

This research project also explores the role of “coziness” within serious game design for children. Many pediatric therapies, including voice therapy, depend upon creating psychologically safe environments for their patients to reduce stress, promote mindfulness and encourage self-regulation. Serious games intended for such treatments should incorporate a similar feeling of safety (or coziness) in their UX design. Our objective is to use game development, character design, and expertise in developing children’s media as a case study in exploring a “cozy” design framework for voice therapy that can potentially be adapted to other therapies within the pediatric health space.

This project will first scope a comprehensive review of existing work in this area, followed by the prototyping of an engaging game experience that helps motivate children to practice semi-occluded vocal tract exercises (SOVTs) as part of their voice therapy treatment. This game will incorporate the necessary tactile objects (e.g. cup, straw, kleenex) needed to perform SOVTs into a character-driven storyworld, where “Trainers” (i.e. children) will use said objects to befriend imaginary creatures in an interactive environment. The project will develop serious-games methodologies in a novel domain (SOVTs), with younger children, and using a cozy design frame, with a Design Science Research (DSR) approach. We will follow standard game-design techniques involving paper-prototyping and testing, as well as iterative feedback sessions with domain experts.





  • Master of Arts


  • Digital Media

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type

  • MRP

Thesis Advisor

David Chandross & Dr. Richard Lachman



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