So we’ve decided to flip the script a bit and talk about six different games that build skills, so that you can feel better about letting your kids play on their screens.
Almost all kids are drawn to screens and particularly video games, but boys with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may be spending up to twice the amount of time playing video games as their neuro-typical classmates. Their aptitude for defined roles, repetition in actions, and the safety of trying something new or scary in a controlled environment all factor into their liking of video games.
The list of games below are video games that aren’t developed specifically for the autism community, but can have benefits for children with autism.
To build social skills:
This game allows for players to interact in a multi-player function that will help promote collaboration and social interaction while completing tasks. If you’d like the added benefit of building motor skills, buy this game for the Nintendo Wii to utilize the Fit Board.
To help with problem solving:
- Portal 2
This otherworldly puzzle game asks the protagonist player to escape a research facility designed by an evil scientist, who is keeping the player trapped. By using a portal gun to create a doorway between surfaces, the player is asked to find a way out of these boobytraps safely. The open-ended problem solving and few rules allows kids to explore freely.
To build skills transferable to real life:
The ability to play this game on nearly any console or device you may have is only one reason why Minecraft is so popular. The physical building aspect of the game can be transferred into real life skills by having kids to rebuild their online creations with LEGOs or other blocks. There are also a number of interactive activities to play in Minecraft that will help with social and emotional skill building.
- Disaster Hero
Disaster Hero does just what you think it would - allows the player to learn and master skills that save them from real disasters. Learning what to do in these emergencies can build a sense of control and empower the player in real life too!
To build motor skills:
If fine motor skills are something your child is working to improve, we definitely suggest this picture perfect game. Draw Something requires kids to follow directions and communicate with another person through pictures they draw of words, phrases, and references.
So, next time you’re feeling desperate for something to entertain your children for a few minutes, don’t feel bad setting them up in front of a screen. Just make sure it’s with one of these games!
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