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Esports and Autism: How Gaming Can Help Autistic Individuals Level Up in Life

Esports and Autism - an image of young people playing esports
Esports and Autism: Helping Autistic Individuals Level Up in Life 

As a company dedicated to helping autistic individuals level up in life through esports, we have seen how playing video games competitively can help overcome obstacles in both personal and professional lives. In this blog post, we will explore esports and autism, with a focus on how gaming can be a platform for developing communication skills and finding a supportive community.

Esports and Autism: A Natural Fit

Esports is a rapidly growing industry with a unique combination of technology, entertainment, and competition. It is also an ideal platform for autistic individuals to develop critical skills, build relationships with like-minded people, and find a sense of belonging.

For individuals with autism, gaming can be an excellent way to connect with others and build social skills. Many autistic individuals struggle to communicate with others, and gaming provides a safe and structured environment for practicing communication and teamwork. Esports is also a merit-based industry, where success is based on performance, skill, and strategy rather than social status or popularity.

How to Use Esports to Help Autistic Individuals Thrive

If you are an individual on the autism spectrum or the caregiver of someone who is, here are some strategies for using esports to promote growth and success:

1. Find a supportive community: Look for online or in-person communities that welcome individuals with autism and have a shared interest in gaming.  At Ignition Gamers our groups are all face to face so that community is encouraged.

2. Set goals: Encourage the individual to set specific goals, such as improving reaction time or mastering a new strategy. This helps keep them motivated and engaged and helps with fine motor skills and quick thinking.

3. Focus on teamwork: Participate in team-based games that require communication and collaboration. This helps develop communication and social skills as well as all the skills of sportsmanship.

4. Emphasise balance: Encourage the individual to prioritise other areas of life, such as education, physical health and social relationships. While esports can be a valuable tool, it is essential to maintain balance.

Conclusion

Esports can be a powerful tool for personal and professional growth for individuals on the autism spectrum. Through gaming, autistic individuals can develop critical skills, build relationships with like-minded individuals, and find a sense of community and belonging. By emphasising teamwork, setting goals and maintaining balance, we can help autistic individuals thrive and level up in all areas of life.

If you’d like to learn more about how Ignition Gamers book a free 15-minute consultation and let’s chat! 

DOWNLOAD OUR FREE GUIDE 

Esports for Neurodivergent Teens and Young Adults

What’s inside the guide:

  • What is esports?
  • An overview of esports in Australia
  • 4 amazing benefits of esports for neurodivergent teens and young adults
  • Tips for healthy esports
  • Frequently asked questions 
  • How to get started playing esports with Ignition Gamers.
Online Gaming for Neurodiverse Teens and Young Adults
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Video Gaming

Bonding Over Mario: Ignition Gamers’ Movie Night Experience

On the 11th of April, a group of guys from Ignition gamers gathered together to watch the New Super Mario Brothers movie. The group was made up of individuals who share a passion for video games. They were excited about the movie and couldn’t wait to see it on the big screen.

As they made their way to the cinema, the Ignition gamers were buzzing with excitement. They had been eagerly anticipating this movie for months, and finally, the day had arrived. As they settled into their seats, the group was already chatting about their expectations for the movie.

As the movie began, the Ignition gamers were immediately drawn in. The boys in the group were pleasantly surprised by how good the movie was and how well the voice acting was done. They were particularly impressed by the performance of Jack Black, who voiced Bowser. The group felt that he brought a lot of energy and humor to the character.

After the movie ended, the Ignition gamers were eager to discuss it among themselves. They talked about their favorite parts of the movie and what they thought of the characters. Some of the group members were particularly excited about the inclusion of characters from other Nintendo games, such as Donkey Kong and Cranky Kong. They also discussed how they felt the movie compared to other video game adaptations they had seen.

One thing that stood out during the group’s discussion was their excitement for a potential sequel to the movie. The Ignition gamers had already started brainstorming ideas for what they would like to see in a sequel. Some of the members of the group suggested that they would like to see more of the side characters from the Mario Brothers franchise, such as Toad and Luigi, have larger roles in the next movie. Others proposed new villains and settings that could be explored in future films but one thing that we know for sure is that the character Yoshi will appear in the sequel due to his cameo appearance in the end credits scene.

The excitement and enthusiasm of the Ignition gamers were contagious. As they left the cinema, they were still buzzing with energy and excitement about the movie. The group had bonded over their shared experience, and they were already making plans to see other movies that interested them.

The Ignition gamers are an example of the positive impact that video games can have on individuals and communities. Video games can bring people together, foster friendships, and provide a sense of belonging. They can also be a great source of entertainment and relaxation.

In conclusion, the Ignition gamers had a fantastic time watching the New Super Mario Brothers movie. Their shared love for the Mario Brothers franchise brought them together and allowed them to connect with each other in a meaningful way. The boys in the group were pleasantly surprised by how good the movie was and how well the voice acting was done. They were eager to discuss the movie among themselves and were already coming up with ideas for a potential sequel. Overall, the experience was a testament to the power of community and shared interests.

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Video Gaming

11 Helpful Resources for Autism Employment

How do we as parents start to navigate autism employment? Leaving school can be challenging and scary for neurotypical students, no matter what journey they have planned ahead. But for neurodiverse students, without the routine and support at school the gap between tomorrow and somewhere in the future after Year 12, can be a fear so intense it can become overwhelming! This article has been designed to help parents with autistic teens understand what those options might be to support and assist them make plans for after they leave school.

It’s important to keep the momentum going because when teens leave school, they’re used to a routine and structure, with something to do every day (even when they don’t like it).  So don’t let them sit at home for too long without having a plan in place because it’s scary and can be depressing. When they first leave school they’re still full of hope and optimistic – make sure you use that window – and mind the gap!

Is your teen thinking about further education? Or looking for a job? Or are they just relieved to finish school and can’t think about any else at this point? As parents, we’re always looking for resources and where to go for information.  You can try some of these to help with planning in that post school gap:

Education and Work Resources

  • Disability Employment Services (DES) – If you have a disability, a DES provider can support you to get job ready, look for   and find a job. DES providers can help you get ready for work, train in specific   job skills, write your resume, learn interview skills and look for jobs that suit   you. If you already have a job, a DES provider can help you with specific on-the-job training and support to suit your needs. 
  • School Leaver Employment Supports program (SLES) – Through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), students can access School Leaver Employment Support (SLES) to help them get ready for work and plan a pathway to employment. 
  • Traineeships and apprenticeships (DAAWS) – Students with disability wanting to pursue a traineeship or apprenticeship can access mentoring and additional support through the DAAWS program.
  • Job Access (DES) – If your child is searching for employment, Disability Employment Services can provide support to get ready for work. (You will need a written diagnosis.)
  • myWAY Employability – A smart web platform to assist young autistic people plan and prepare for work.
  • Australian Disability Enterprises – Provides supported employment opportunities to people with disability  by assisting with gaining experience and training to enable access into employment. (This is not open to those currently on the NDIS.)
  • Leaving school and career planning (students with disability) – Providing information and support for leaving school and career planning for students with a disability. (For those based in Victoria.)
  • Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training (ADCET) – Students with disabilities who are wanting to go on further education can access a wealth of information, resources and practical worksheets to help plan for the transition to further education.
  • Get Ready for Study and Work – This resource features 10 top tips for young people with disability who are leaving school and going onto work and study. In particular it aims to inform parents so they can help their young person with disability to make a successful transition from school into further study or work.

There are other options that could be a great way for your autistic teen to build confidence, develop skills and explore new things that will help them (and you) see what sort of job they might like to pursue, as well as identify the types of support or adjustments they may need at work.

Work Experience & Volunteering
 
  • Short-term work placements – Early experience in industry can offer a taste of their future world of work and help your child decide whether a particular job is right for them. Find tips on short-term work placements at School Leavers Support.
  • Volunteering opportunities – Volunteering offers the chance to not only make a difference through assisting others but it can also help your child to build valuable skills for the future. In the ACT you can check out what’s available at Volunteering ACT.
  • NDIS Social Activities – It is important to remember social and community participation is about doing the things you want as part of everyday life. These are activities you do for fun and can help your health and wellbeing.

Leaving school can sometimes be challenging. It’s completely normal to feel this way and Parents don’t have to work everything out by themselves! There are plenty of people you and your teens can talk to – someone ‘in the know’, such as a wellbeing teacher, the school careers counsellor, your NDIS support coordinator or a mental health professional.  Ask for their advice and suggestions that can help support you and your teen through this tricky time, so you can Mind the Gap.

Reference

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Video Gaming

8 TIPS FOR AUTISM AND SLEEP PROBLEMS IN YOUNG PEOPLE

For those of us who parent and are pulling our hair out – this article helps explain why autism and sleep problems have a high correlation with 8 tips to help.

While teenagers are notoriously night owls, sleep problems for those on the spectrum can be horrendous. Autistic children often have particular sleep and settling difficulties, including irregular sleeping and waking patterns. It might be lying awake until very late or waking very early in the morning. sleeping much less than expected for their age, or being awake for more than an hour during the night and not feeling rested in the day.

Add to that the gaming culture of being online with people around the world making it available 24×7, and being the parent/disciplinarian just gets worse.

WHY IS SLEEP PARTICULARLY DIFFICULT FOR THOSE WITH AUTISM?

Given this disruptive feedback loop, sleep problems are among the most urgent concerns for families grappling with autism. But so far, this also happens to be among the least-studied aspects of autism. The data suggests sleep problems are twice as common among children with autism as they are among typical children or those with other developmental conditions. Gastrointestinal problems such as reflux is also prevalent which also exacerbates the ability to stay asleep and in the case of our son, contributed to poor teeth!

On top of that the sensory difficulties of sleep is high for the autistic. Who of us haven’t tried heaters, air conditioners, weighted blankets, special lights, music, white noise, etc. And once these supports are established they’re really hard to manage later in life.

Studies suggest that individuals with autism are more likely than typical people to have mutations in genes that  govern the sleep-wake cycle or those that have links to insomnia. Some studies suggest that people on the spectrum carry mutations that affect  levels of melatonin, a natural hormone that controls sleep.

In non-autistic people, sleep issues are frequently associated with mood disorders such as depression and anxiety, and these disorders are more common among autistic people. So does sleep disruption in autistic people contribute to their high rates of depression and anxiety or vice versa?

MELATONIN OR NOT TO MELATONIN?

And at some stage in this journey someone in your medical support team has suggested melatonin supplements as an option.

Unfortunately it isn’t a magic bullet and it’s important that our kids know that and they don’t keep taking it thinking it is. 

Like all drugs there can be issues taking Melatonin such as adverse effects. They tend to occur with higher doses or with supplements designed to provide extended release of melatonin. Aside from headache, dizziness, nausea, and daytime sleepiness, some studies have reported side effects like vivid dreams, nightmares, stomach cramps, irritable mood, and brief bouts of depression.

Our GP recommended to only take Melatonin for approximately 2 weeks then be off it for 2 weeks. Melatonin is a hormone and a powerful one — just like testosterone or estrogen. So don’t allow your child or young adult to use it like a headache tablet.

Melatonin is a hormone that your brain produces in response to darkness, priming your body for sleep. It helps with the timing of your circadian rhythms (24-hour internal clock) and with sleep.

Being exposed to light at night can block melatonin production eg. TV, phone, computer. So this means you must take the Melatonin at exactly the same time every night, (say 2 hours before bed) so that the brain gets into a routine.

It is not recommended to take Melatonin long term, but only for about 2 weeks initially. There is no data to back this up, but some experts think taking supplements may interfere with your natural melatonin production, as you’re signaling to your brain that it doesn’t need to make its own supply of the hormone anymore. In the UK , where melatonin is only available by prescription, the supplement is usually prescribed for one to four weeks. Some healthcare providers may even recommend taking melatonin two to three times per week, instead of every night. 

While there doesn’t seem to be a risk of addiction, it’s all too easy to start feeling like you need to take melatonin for a good night’s sleep.

SLEEP HYGIENE – IT’S A RITUAL

Sleep Hygiene is something often talked about, which really just means a ritual. We do this with toddlers:

  • Time to have a bath and put pajamas on
  • Clean teeth
  • Read a book (with low lights not overhead lights on)
  • Maybe listen to a story or relaxing music or white noise, or a meditation to relax the body and stop chattering thoughts, etc.

It’s important to remind our young adults that this ritual is important and they need to keep doing it.

Here are some other rituals you can do:

  1. View sunlight by going outside within 3-60 minutes of waking. Do that again in the late afternoon, prior to sunset. (Easier now it’s getting warmer).
  2. Wake up at the same time each day and go to sleep when you first start to feel sleepy. 
  3. Avoid caffeine within 8-10 hours of bedtime.
  4. Avoid viewing bright lights—especially bright overhead lights between 10 pm and 4 am.
  5. Limit daytime naps to less than 90 min, or don’t nap at all. 
  6. If you wake up in the middle of the night (which, by the way, is normal to do once or so each night) but you can’t fall back asleep, consider doing an NSDR meditation when you wake up. Enter “NSDR” into YouTube and the top 3-4 options have different voices and durations for you to select from. Or simply do a “Yoga Nidra” meditation (enter “Yoga Nidra” to YouTube; 100s to select.)
  7. Expect to feel really alert ~1 hour before your natural bedtime. This is a naturally occurring spike in wakefulness that sleep researchers have observed. Don’t freak out if it happens. It will pass!
  8. Keep the bedroom cool and dark and layer on blankets that you can remove. Your body needs to drop in temperature by 1-3 degrees to fall and stay asleep effectively. Body temperature increases are one reason you wake up. So, keep your room cool and remove blankets as needed. If it’s too hot you would have to use a cooling device and that’s harder than simply tossing off blankets if you get too warm.
Additional References
https://doi.org/10.53053/YEET6245
https://hubermanlab.com/toolkit-for-sleep/
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Video Gaming

The Positive Influence Of Social Participation for Young Autistic Men (and Women)

People with psychosocial disability are the most likely disability group to avoid social participation because of their disability – and this is the biggest challenge for autistic young adults.  

65% aged 15 and over avoided situations in the last year, compared with 25% with other disability (ABS 2016).

In general, social  engagement can improve mental health and wellbeing. By taking part in social capacity activities, you can meet new people and make friends. These social connections are key to our health — they help us improve our self-esteem; reduce loneliness; increase happiness; reduce depression; improve cognitive function (memory). Studies suggest that spending time with people who are similar to us makes us feel better about ourselves. When we feel like we belong to a group and that our contributions are valued, it boosts our self-esteem. It helps us learn about ourselves. 

BUT one of the biggest barriers to a person’s participation and inclusion in everyday activities is social isolation. This  differs from loneliness, which is a negative feeling or emotion a person has about their lack of contact or connection to the world around them.

It disproportionately affects those with social anxiety where many have a reduced or non-existent social connection. People with social anxiety may feel isolated, which can lead to higher rates of chronic cognitive, physical and mental ill-health. 

The statistics around this are scary as 1 in 3 (32%) people aged 15 and over with disability have avoided situations because of their disability. This includes:

  • visiting family or friends (40%), and 44% of people with severe or profound disability
  • going to shops and banks (33%), and 42.3% of people with severe or profound disability
  • going to restaurants/cafes/bars (30%), and 37% of people with severe or profound disability
  • using public transport (25%) and 38% of people with severe or profound disability
  • work (24%)
  • using public parks or recreation venues (19%)
  • Going to park or recreation venue (19%)
  • Using medical facilities (GP, Dentist, hospital) (10.8%)
  • Going to school or university (8%)

As parents and carers, we are well and truly aware of this and trying to get our autistic young adults out and about into unpredictable situations is hard.

This is one of the reasons Ignition Gamers was started.  To encourage young men with autism to participate in a group activity.  Making it a face to face group that is fun and doing something they know and enjoy (gaming) in a friendly and safe environment has proven it can be done! 

The focus is on building relationships, helping them connect, making them feel welcome and encouraging them try new things and reach their full potential.

References

View the full report “People with disability in Australia” by AIHW https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/disability/people-with-disability-in-australia/summary  

Sources: Except where stated otherwise, data is taken from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2016 via the AIHW Report 2019: Australians with Disability.  [1] VicDeaf.  [2] Price Waterhouse Coopers, 2011 ‘Disability expectations – investing in a better life, a strong Australia.’  [3] https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/aur.2016.  [4] Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4)

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Video Gaming

Jackbox Games Review

Our favourite game - Jackbox

This video of our Jackbox Review shows you why we play this game regularly at Ignition Gamers.

It’s one of our favourite games!

Laughter and fun with Jackbox.

Enjoy.

We play Jackbox regularly – this video shows you why.

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Video Gaming

What are Serious Games?

Serious games are a form of digital medicine (a.k.a. digital therapeutics) which incorporates game-like elements (e.g., points, achievements, levelling-up) into Internet- or app-based treatments to increase interest, enjoyment, motivation, and adherence [Ref 1-3]. Within the past few years, the clinical effectiveness of serious games has been scientifically evaluated, particularly in relation to mental health and psychosocial outcomes, demonstrating small but consistently positive effects in line with many pharmaceutical treatments [Ref 1,2].

Likewise, a variety of serious games have been, and continue to be, developed for neurodiverse individuals [Ref 3-5]. For example, Carier and colleagues developed two mini-games (New Horizon and SpaceControl) for autistic children and their parents which incorporated relaxation techniques and found that these games significantly reduced autistic children’s stress and anxiety [Ref 5]. Serious games have also shown to have a positive impact on social interaction and competency skills for autistic youth [Ref 3-4], although the generalisability of such programs to autistic and neurodiverse adults remains to be investigated.

As such, serious games provide a fun and engaging alternative to mental health and psychosocial treatments that capitalise on performance-based rewards, challenges, and achievements that can be geared to each individual’s strengths and goals [Ref 6,7]. Furthermore, serious games also provide external motivators and (some) control over the degree of social interaction (e.g., increasing social interaction at higher game levels) which may be more appealing to some neurodiverse individuals who experience social anxiety and/or are more comfortable in indirect social situations.

Thus, serious games are a promising avenue for the future of digital therapeutics in mental health and neurodiverse populations and should continue to be investigated for evidence-based clinical efficacy in autistic youth and adults.

[You might like to read our other blog about Gaming As Therapy]

References

1 – Lau, H.M., Smit, J.H., Fleming, T.M., & Riper, H. (2017). Serious games for mental health: Are they accessible, feasible, and effective? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 7(209). 1-13. http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2016.00209

2 – Fleming, T.M., Bavin, L., Stasiak, K., Hermansson-Webb, E., Merry, S.N., Cheek, C., Lucassen, M., Pollmuller, B., & Hetrick, S. (2017). Serious games and gamification for mental health: Current status and promising directions. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 7(215). 1-7. http://dx.doi.org/fpsyt.2015.00215

3 – Grossard, C., Grynspan, O., Serret, S., Jouen, A.L., Bailly, K., & Cohen, D. (2017). Serious games to teach social interactions and emotions to individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Computers and Education, 113, 195-211. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2017.05.002

4 – Jiménez-Muñoz, L., Peñuelas-Calvo, I., Calvo-Rivera, P., Diaz-Oliván, I., Moreno, M., Baca-Garcia, E., & Porras-Segovia, A. (2021). Video games for the treatment of autism spectrum disorder: A systematic review. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10803-021-04934-9

5 – Carlier, S., Van der Paelt, S., Ongenae, F., & De Backere F. (2020). Empowering children with ASD and their parents: Design of a serious game for anxiety and stress reduction. Sensors, 20, 996. 1-41. http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/s20040966

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Video Gaming

Duck Game Review

Dale – our Media Wizard – compiled this video to capture what the guys at Ignition Gamers thought of the Duck Game.

Enjoy.

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Video Gaming

Gaming on the Autism Spectrum

Why is gaming so appealing to people with autism?

Some studies suggest that autistic adolescents spend more than 40 percent of their free time gaming, as compared to 18 percent of their neurotypical peers.

Researchers at the University of Missouri ran a really interesting study about the perspective of autistic gamers between 17 and 25 years of age. They identified some characteristics of video games that are particularly appealing to the autistic mindset:

  • it’s a visually-stimulating virtual environment
  • games are highly imaginative, but with a well-defined structure
  • video games provide clear visual and auditory clues
  • video games give clearly-defined expectations and repetitive reinforcement
  • games are more predictable and controllable than the real world

Of course, parents and educators often worry that they are spending too much time gaming. And for some, if allowed to stay isolated and their only interaction with others is via an online platform, then it is definitely a concern and can lead to other mental health issues.

BUT there are clear benefits to gaming that can counterbalance any negatives, if encouraged and monitored.

Friendship
Most autistic people struggle with loneliness and a sense of isolation. But in a 2017 study conducted at Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary, researchers studying the issue of found that those who played online games had more friends than those who do not. And those that are able to make some sort of friendships at school tend to lose them once they leave school.
Communication

Therapists who work with nonverbal kids on the autism spectrum often tap into their love of video games to explore alternative means of communications. They often struggle to talk with neurotypical peers but can be motivated to speak up online with others who share their passion for gaming.

Employment

Sadly, an estimated 85 percent of autistic college graduates are unemployed. (This is an US study but the results are similar in Australia.) Since their intellectual abilities can range as widely as their neurotypical peers, this staggering statistic is not the result of ability, but rather opportunity, misconception, and communication difficulties.

Companies like Microsoft, SAP, and Ford Motor Company are championing efforts to increase employment in the autistic community with specific hiring programs, as are various Federal Departments in Canberra, but the fact remains: most adults on the spectrum will have to find their own employment in a world that doesn’t understand them. But an interest in gaming can spur some to pursue a dream job.

Gaming the helps

Adapting to the neurotypical world can be challenging for adults on the spectrum – especially since most services and support for autism are only available for children. By asking autistic adults what they love about gaming, researchers hope to inspire developers to create useful tools in the form of games, apps, and programs that are appealing to gamers on the spectrum. Support of this kind is sadly lacking. Perhaps more support for autistic adults can ultimately be found in virtual and augmented reality technologies, an industry that Goldman Sachs projects to be worth more than $80 billion by 2025.

The joy of gaming

With autism, most milestones are achieved one hard-fought inch at a time. As with any minority group, autistic people often survive and thrive by being persistent and courageous in the face of constant obstacles.

Maybe your son’s love of gaming could lead him to a career in 3D architectural drafting, or he will continue to play Minecraft or Nintendo and watch weird and wonderful YouTube videos, hoping to make his own channel a success someday.

What we do know that the joy of gaming is evident when our guys get together at Ignition Gamers. As an NDIS Social Activity, we try to bring everything that this article has talked about into the group:

  • Lowering anxiety by providing a predictable and controllable game
  • Encouraging communication and friendship with real people
  • A no judgement environment
  • Developing the capacities necessary to work in teams can be demonstrated to potential employers
  • Having fun and laughter
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Video Gaming

Video Gaming As Therapy?

A promising alternative for neurodiverse adults

Video games are a common pastime and special interest of neurodiverse individuals. In fact, autistic adults report playing video games and participating in collaborative gaming platforms to regulate their emotions (e.g., stress relief, distraction) and connect socially with peers who share common interests (ref below 1,2). It is essential to recognise, however, that autistic adults are at an increased risk for developing gaming and/or Internet addiction (ref 3,4) and some individuals report they are drawn to playing video games out of compulsion (ref 2). Therefore, as with any activity, it is important for neurodiverse individuals to remember to moderate their video and online game play time.

Autistic and neurotypical adults also report that they are drawn to video and/or online games for a general sense of achievement and immersion into another world (where deficits or challenges may be less emphasized) (ref 1,2). Along these lines, performance and reward-based attributes (e.g., XP, in-game currency, medals, achievements) play an important role in motivating and engaging players and can provide external motivational supports for individuals who may not have a high intrinsic motivation for engaging with others (ref 1,2). Therefore, participating in co-operative online and/or video gaming platforms has significant potential to be a digital therapy alternative for individuals on the spectrum, although there is currently no scientific evidence to support the clinical efficacy of these activities.

The general principles of video games do, however, serve as the basis for many modern “serious game” solutions (for more detail see What are Serious Games?), including those available for autistic youth (ref 5,6,7). Collectively, serious games show promise for improving mental health (e.g., anxiety, depression) and social skills in neurodiverse children (ref 5,8,9) although further scientific evidence is needed to concretely affirm the clinical effectiveness of such therapeutic solutions across the lifespan. All in all, participation in co-operative video and/or online games shows tremendous promise as a digital therapeutic alternative for neurodiverse adults – especially when conducted in a safe, inclusive, and positive environment (ref 1,2) but remains to be scientifically evaluated.

References

1 – Finke, E., Hickerson, B., & Kremkow, J. (2018). “To be quite honest, if it wasn’t for video games I wouldn’t have a social life at all”: Motivations of young adults with autism spectrum disorder for playing video games as leisure. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 27(2), 672-689. http://dx.doi.org/10.1044/2017_AJSLP-17-0073

2 – Mazurek, M.O., Engelhardt, C.R., & Clark, K.E. (2015). Video games from the perspective of adults with autism spectrum disorder. Computers in Human Behavior, 51, 122-130. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2015.04.062

3 – Coutelle, R., Weiner, L., Paasche, C., Pottelette, J., Bertschy, G., Schröder, C.M., & Lalanne, L. (2021). Autism spectrum disorder and video games: Restricted interests or addiction? International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11469-021-00511-4

4 – Normand, C.L., Fisher, M.H., Fecteau, S.M., Tremblay, K., Roy, E., & Poulin, M.H. (2021). Exploring problematic internet use and gaming in young adults with autism spectrum disorder. Poster presentation at the 2021 International Meeting for Autism Research. Virtual Conference.

5 – Grossard, C., Grynspan, O., Serret, S., Jouen, A.L., Bailly, K., & Cohen, D. (2017). Serious games to teach social interactions and emotions to individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Computers and Education, 113, 195-211. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2017.05.002

6 – Banskota, A. & Ng, Y.K. (2020). Recommending video games to adults with autism spectrum disorder for social-skill enhancement. UMAP Conference Proceeding in Genoa, Italy. 14-22. http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/3340631.3394867

7 – Ng, Y.K. & Pera, M.S. (2018). Recommending social-interactive games for adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). UMAP Conference Proceeding in Vancouver, Canada. 209-213. http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/3240323.3240405

8 – Jiménez-Muñoz, L., Peñuelas-Calvo, I., Calvo-Rivera, P., Diaz-Oliván, I., Moreno, M., Baca-Garcia, E., & Porras-Segovia, A. (2021). Video games for the treatment of autism spectrum disorder: A systematic review. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10803-021-04934-9

9 – Carlier, S., Van der Paelt, S., Ongenae, F., & De Backere F. (2020). Empowering children with ASD and their parents: Design of a serious game for anxiety and stress reduction. Sensors, 20, 996. 1-41. http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/s20040966