There is a lot of misconception about video games not being so helpful, or how they are negative. What about the positives? Generally, you might think of a game made specifically for someone with autism (yes, they make such games). Games with high reward schedules and social rewards such as World of Warcraft can lead to preoccupation. In moderation did you know that WoW can also be helpful to the autistic crowd as well?
It’s hard to find an even balance, but it’s not impossible. You have to learn how to use the tools to help those with autism, not just children but adults too. Those with autism have difficulties in communication and language, social skills, and even repetitive and inflexible behaviors.
In most cases, when people think of autism they don’t think of the high-functioning ones, but instead of the low-functioning ones (Think Rainman with Dustin Hoffman). High functioning Autism is known as Aspergers, or may also be called Autism stage 1 (and most recently Autism Level 1 is another term I’ve heard as well).
World of Warcraft can help someone with autism with their social skills. Many people will argue that the game is isolating, however, it’s the opposite. There are plenty of things to do that require social interaction. Running groups, joining in raids, joining guilds, or even PvP are all situations where it is required to be social.
Those with autism are generally not very flexible and are often rigid in their problem-solving. This can tend to create failure in many games, including World of Warcraft. World of Warcraft by nature requires flexibility, adapting to new challenges & demands, and even learning from your mistakes. For someone with autism to play a game like World of Warcraft, it would allow them to practice the required flexibility of today’s world and problem-solving techniques.
Handling frustrations can be very hard for someone with autism at any stage, including when your routine shifts or when you seem to get stuck at specific spots. World of Warcraft gives those with autism a chance to expand their capacities including practicing their transitioning skills, becoming comfortable with learning from their mistakes and expanding their range of activities. This can help them to handle the frustrations of everyday life along the way.
It has been proven that video games increase motivation and attention when compared with traditional methods of teaching those with autism, this includes World of Warcraft. World of Warcraft is consistent and predictable, it may even involve limited social factors while allowing autistic people to take control and determine the pace they are comfortable with going.
As you can see there is not always something negative, and video games such as World of Warcraft can be helpful. Specific conditions may find the game challenging and fun at the same time while increasing and practicing certain life skills that you might need for work among other things.
What do you think about using World of Warcraft to help someone with autism?