Big Deal Media

K-12 Technology
Autism Games

Oct 15, 2018 2018-10-15

Digital Learning • Learning Support

SPOTLIGHT! On a Spectrum of Possibilities

Every day, students with autism bring life experiences into the classroom that can make learning a challenge. Immersive online games can help these students navigate their unique social or emotional challenges and build self-confidence. These games can also help classmates understand the experiences of their peers with autism.

Game to Improve Social and Emotional Skills
Adventures Aboard the S.S. GRIN, a nine-episode online game, is designed to teach social skills to children aged 7–12 who experience social behavioral problems and lack of motivation. The game is made available by Centervention, a spinout of 3C Institute. As children navigate the engaging environment, the game presents challenges requiring them to apply specific social and emotional skills. The single-player form, enabling individualized feedback and multiple play paths based on the player’s choices, creates a safe environment for practicing underdeveloped skills. The software captures players’ behaviors and uses the data in real time to assess each child’s progress and determine next steps. At appropriate times, S.S.GRIN provides feedback to children. Data offered to parents, providers, or teachers allows them to document each child’s progress toward specific, measurable social goals. Educators can evaluate Adventures Aboard the S.S. GRIN for free with one student. If they’re satisfied, they can purchase additional student licenses at a cost of $10 per student. No minimum purchase is required.

Game to Educate Children About Autism
College students in Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center have developed a free 30-minute video game called Prism to help elementary-aged students understand the experiences of their peers with autism. The game uses animal characters that demonstrate some of the challenges faced by individuals with autism. The game begins in a lush, 3D forest teeming with animals and scored with whimsical music. Players take on the role of a fox character; to save its home from a flood, the fox must work with the other animals to build a dam across the river. At certain points, the screen fills with light, and the music becomes distorted; but players can soothe themselves by howling—a situation representing how people with autism can cope with sensory overload. The game’s other characters also represent aspects of autism. A bear and boar communicate only through emojis, representing barriers to communication. Players can also engage with a shy, nonverbal moose by repeatedly interacting with the character, as well as with a fawn fascinated with fireflies. A freely downloadable discussion guide for teachers accompanies the game. Prism is available to play for free online.

Gamification/Game-Based Learning Social-Emotional Learning Autism Special Needs

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