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The Escapist: Hard-Wired for Gaming

Posted by ballightning on May 13, 2009

Jamie Dunston over at The Escapist posted an article about her autistic son and how gaming has gave him a hand in every-day life.  Spore is just one of the many games that has helped her son:

But as soon as he discovered that he could manipulate the digital monsters in Spore, he was hooked. Sure, he spent the first half-hour obsessively watching the “afraid” animation. But once he figured out what “afraid” meant, he started making a scared face whenever he clicked the button, anticipating and extending what the creature was about to do. For the first time, he understood that what someone (or something) does with his face or body can reflect how that person feels.

Before Spore, we talked about emotions all the time. Autistic people typically have trouble reading facial expressions and other nonverbal cues, so we started working on identifying “happy,” “sad” and “angry” when he was still quite young. We showed him photographs, we made simple line drawings, we acted them out. He could spell them, but he didn’t really comprehend their meaning. But when he experimented with Spore, when he was in control of a really fascinating creature, something clicked. We knew he really got it when he pointed at his crying baby sister and, in a spectacular display of verbosity, proclaimed “afraid.”

Source: SporePrograms

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