Can people with autism play video games? And if they can, how do they show their emotions or express their need to play?
Yes, many individuals with autism can enjoy video games, but each person’s experience is unique. Here’s a more detailed explanation;
Structured Environment- Video games have clear rules and routines. This structure is comforting for people with autism who like predictable patterns.
Sensory Stimulation- Some people with autism are sensitive to sensory input. Video games can be adjusted for sights and sounds, helping manage sensory overload.
Visual Learning- Many autistic individuals are visual learners. Video games use visuals like puzzles, which match their learning style.
Safe Social Interaction- Online games provide controlled social interaction, reducing challenges faced in face-to-face situations.
Repetitive Behaviors– Some with autism have repetitive behaviors. Video games can offer a focused outlet for these behaviors.
Interests- Just like anyone else, autistic people have varied interests. Some love video games, others might not. We should respect their preferences.
Sensitivities- Some games may still be overwhelming due to sensory issues. Choosing games that suit their sensitivities is important.
Motor Skills- Motor skills differ. Games needing precise timing might be challenging.
Screen Time Balance- Balancing video game time with other activities is vital.
In essence, video games can be great for many with autism. It depends on understanding each individual’s strengths, challenges, and preferences. We should involve them in choosing games that match their interests and sensory needs.
Now, the second part of question – How can they communicate their need to play video games?
Communicating the Desire to Play;
Verbal Communication- Some autistic individuals can express their interest verbally, saying things like “I want to play video games.”
Nonverbal Communication- For those who struggle with speech, gestures, pointing, or bringing the game to someone can show their desire to play.
Visual Supports- Pictures, symbols, or schedules can be used. They might point to a picture of a video game or show it on a schedule.
Technology and Devices- Some use communication apps or devices if they find speaking hard. They might type or use pictures to express their wish to play.
Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)- AAC tools like communication boards or apps on devices can help. They might select a symbol for “video games” to communicate their interest.
Repetition or Rituals- Some develop routines around playing. Consistently showing excitement or engaging in a particular behavior could mean they want to play.
Social Scripts- Caregivers might use scripts to prompt communication. For example, asking “Do you want to play video games?” can help them respond.
Body Language- Excitement can be shown through body language. Becoming animated, smiling, or clapping might mean they want to play.
Communication styles are unique. What works for one may not work for another. Observing their cues and preferences and creating a supportive environment for effective communication is key.
Video games can be a wonderful activity for many with autism. It’s crucial to understand and respect their unique needs, choices, and ways of communicating. By doing so, we can provide them with enjoyable experiences that suit their interests and abilities.
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Author Juhi Saxena
Hello, I’m Juhi.
I take immense pride in introducing myself as Tanisha’s mother. Tanisha, who is on the Autism Spectrum, serves as my teacher and inspires me to be a better human being every day. Her determination has taught me the value of never giving up. I openly advocate for the mental well-being of caregivers and parents of children with special needs (CWSN) and discuss the challenges faced by CWSN and their families. I firmly believe in the power of holding hands and walking together on the less traveled road.
Creative representation for this blog is done by our extremely talented CreativeSaathi associate Morpheus Nag