Autism deeply affects our lives nowadays, and, according to the recent CDC reports, the number of children identified with Autism Spectrum Disorder has increased from 1 in 150 children to 1 in 68 children.
The situation is the same disturbing around the world, e.g. above 1% of Australian population is diagnosed on autism. The worst thing is that these numbers only increase every year.
Nobody knows what causes autism and how to treat it. We only know that more likely it is caused by the combination of genetic, environmental, and prenatal factors.
Usually, an appropriate diagnosis can be made in early childhood, by the age of 2. Once the child is diagnosed, therapy options should be recommended and provided. As usual it’s a combination of therapies and the cost is unaffordable for many families who have autistic children. That’s why scientists and developers are looking for new options to help such families. The good news came from The Telethon Kids and the University of Western Australia in Perth. They have designed and developed a new video game called “serious games”. The nickname is “Frankie and Friends” and it’s targeted to develop variety of the social skills some children with autism find challenging.
The game is designed with a play in mind. Though, it’s still on trial and it’s currently being trailled in children with autism between 5 and 12 years of age only.
Highlights and Pros:
– it includes understanding emotions and paying attention to people, rather than objects;
– no instructions;
– minimum words on the screen, instead there are symbols and sounds used throughout the game to create meaning;
– children of all ability levels on the autism can try the game;
– focuses on the strength that some children with autism possess (enhanced perceptual skills, cognitive tasks, etc.);
– enhanced on activating different parts of the brain.
However, the researchers are still looking to see the influence of the game on the children’s skills learned. They hope that simple training games like this may help children with autism better understand social world.