Video Games May Enhance Social Skills for Autistic YouthExperts say the use of screen-based technologies can improve communication and social skills among youth diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Over the years, researchers have learned that children and adolescents with ASD are typically fascinated by screen-based technology. This in turn has suggested that video games, computers and mobile devices might be used for education and treatment.

A discussion of the possibilities, as described in an insightful roundtable discussion, is published in Games for Health Journal: Research Development, and Clinical Applications.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that 1 in 88 children in the U.S. have an ASD. Typically, individuals with ASD have difficulty with communication and social interaction, but they often have particularly good visual perceptual skills and respond well to visual stimuli.

As such, video games offer opportunities for successful learning, motivation to improve skills such as planning, organization, and self-monitoring, and reinforcement of desired behaviors without the need for direct human-to-human interaction.

Experts say research exploring the use of video games for treatment of ASD and related disorders is growing.

“Children and young adults with ASD have unique opportunities to capitalize on their interest and aptitude in video games as a resource to develop desired social behaviors and life skills and to increase their physical activity,” said Games for Health Journal Editor-in-Chief Bill Ferguson, Ph.D., who moderated the roundtable.

Source: Mary Ann Liebert

Child playing a video game photo by shutterstock.