ASD Recreational Video Game Benefits
Recreational play is a great source of joy and amusement for all children. Playing baseball or soccer; exploring a doll-house; skipping; swinging; or riding a bike are all a part of that special time every child looks forward to — play time. Video games are increasingly becoming a part of that routine. PlayStation, X-box, handheld devices (like the Nintendo 3DS), and computer games are becoming favorites for children, adolescents, and adults alike. A plethora of games, rated according to maturity, cater to both young and old.
People on the autism spectrum, both young and old, can benefit from such games. Below are some great benefits of video-gaming for people who are neurodiverse.
1. Joint Attention People on the spectrum, as well as other neurodiverse people, often have difficulty with joint attention, as has been shown through scientific research. Joint attention is the ability to follow someone else’s eye-gaze and concentrate on the same object as them. Video games command the attention of a person with ASD, and can hold that attention for an extended period of time. Joint attention can easily be achieved as a game spectator or a second player.
2. Sustained Attention People with ASD tend to struggle with sustained attention. Sustained attention is the ability to concentrate on an activity long enough to complete a task. Video games present sequenced objectives with attention grabbing storylines meant to engage the player. The skill of sustained attention can be learned by playing video games and transferred to other daily activities.
3. Muscle Strengthening and Fine Motor Skills Children who are neurodiverse may have a particular need for muscle strengthening and the development of fine motor skills. Adults who are neurodiverse may also need to work on their muscular system. The prolonged use of any hand-held controller or keyboard strengthens hand muscles and trains fine motor skills in the fingers.
4. Social Skills People with ASD or who are neurodiverse may have difficulty acquiring and utilising social skills. Video games can be used to build skills such as sharing or taking turns. They can also be used to build rapport around the interest in gaming. Video games may include life skills in the gameplay, such as getting dressed or organising items into categories.
If you are a parent or close relative of someone diagnosed with ASD, it would be a lovely choice to purchase a video game and engage your loved one with it. The sooner you start gaming, the sooner you can see the many benefits. In addition to the above quality of life improvements, gaming will also bring your loved one joy.
Until next time, happy gaming!