A popular pastime for many teenagers, research has discovered that children with autism are more prone to developing an intense love of video games.
While it may be a worry for unsure parents, the sheer amount of time that autistic children spend hidden away in their bedrooms playing video games can be beneficial to their development.
We take a look at the links between autism and gaming and how gaming can benefit autistic children not just in their development but in their confidence also.
The negative side to Autism and gaming
Many parents and guardians will worry over the amount of time that their child spends hidden away playing the latest video games. Whether they prefer to spend their time on Nintendo, PlayStations or using their Gaming PC to enjoy the latest ai in video games, the large scale of time spent on these devices can lead to them becoming socially withdrawn and obsessive.
Along with shunning and hiding themselves away from society, their time spent on these devices can cause them to react badly and become obsessive due to the negative remarks made by other players on these multiplayer games.
However research has discovered that gaming can hold a handful of positive side effects as well as negative.
How gaming can benefit autistic children?
In a recent study conducted by Keith Stuart from the Guardian, it was discovered that gaming has a large number of benefits for autistic children. With the ability to enhance and benefit their personal and mental growth, to the opportunity to control and develop objects and characters. This allows them to experience a feeling of control that they otherwise would not be able to encounter within the real world.
Many specialist schools for autistic children have said that children with special needs through the use of video gaming are able to communicate, talk to new people, make friends and have fun while playing a game that they enjoy. Something that they may find difficult to conduct in their everyday lives.
5 benefits of autism and gaming?
With a number of benefits, we explore how playing video games can benefit and develop your child.
A key benefit discovered between autism and gaming and that is the way that it can help develop the child’s communication skills. By playing games, communicating with other players and seeing how characters speak to one another, the children can develop their skills by being able to imitate what they have seen on their screens within their day to day lives. This development can be seen in the way that they speak, listen and communicate and engage with other pupils when at school.
2- Motor Skills
Another positive discovery found between autism and gaming and that is the benefit it has on the child’s development of their motor skills. This can be expanded and developed through the child holding and pushing a range of different buttons on the controller. The activity between the muscle and the brain can strengthen over time, with this skill able to be transferred across a range of different activities other than gaming. Such as drawing, writing, sports and general multi-tasking tasks that they will need to complete. These valuable motor skills can be tested and worked upon, due to the requirement of having to work their brain while improving their hand and speed reactions..
3- Reading and Writing Skills
With a large majority of games featuring both written and verbal instructions, the relationship between autism and gaming can prove beneficial by helping to improve both the child’s reading and writing skills.
By allowing the child to break down every single action, while focusing on the instructions given, this can improve their skills while also giving the child the confidence to speak up when at school. The ability to associate and understand simple commands and requests can be transferred into their education and off the games console.
Another key benefit of gaming for autistic children that can be witnessed and that is its ability to develop and improve the child in questions organisation skills. Time spent playing video games can help to allow the child to develop a routine, manage their time, while moving between a range of different activities within their game. Whether they are switching between maintaining the health of their character or conquering a new town, this switching between different tasks within the game can help them improve their organisational skills and learn the importance of prioritising. When it comes to autism and gaming, parents are also recommended to set a strict gaming schedule. By making sure that their child takes time away from their screen to develop their newly developed skills out within the real world, this can highlight the importance of taking time away from the screen for their health.
5- Social Interaction
When it comes to developing your child’s communication and social skills, gaming proves to be an invaluable skill. Another key benefit of gaming for autistic children, and that is its ability to expand the child’s social interaction and help develop the way in which they communicate and express themselves amongst friends.
By being able to see facial expressions, differentiating the difference between these expressions, time spent playing their game of choice can also act effectively to boost their overall social skills. In turn, this can help them to become more confident when it comes to speaking and expressing themselves with strangers.
With a handful of benefits, time spent gaming for autistic children has proven to be invaluable helping to improve a number of valuable skills.
Helping to develop and expand the confidence of the child, playing video games can also improve both their communication, organisational skills, but also their motor development and the way that they interact with friends, family and even strangers.
By taking the time to let them explore and play independently within a safe, but time controlled environment, you can ensure that your child is developing the right skills.
Giving them the confidence that they require within their daily lives, their time spent playing video games can benefit and educate them, setting them up for success within the future.