Videogames for Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Users Perspectives
Typical children and adolescent spend their free time with videogames. Individuals with autism are no exceptions and videogames might be very good tools for socialization and interactions though many prejudices still exist and limits the use and potential of them for interventions.
The aim is to report results of an ongoing descriptive study of the preferences and use of videogames of an argentinian sample of children and adolescents with ASD for improving social interventions with videogames.
We design and adapt a questionnaire of videogames based on previous experiences for children and adolescents that assess key areas such as preferred device they play with more often, preferred consoles, who they play with more often, and with whom they enjoy to play with more, amount of hours playing a day, preferred games, and preference for violent videogames. All participants (N= 30, 25 male, 5 females) where assessed individually to complete the questionnaire and was adapted in some cases to make sure they understand the questions. They all have a previous reliable diagnosis of ASD and were assisting to social skills groups in the same setting during the research period 2015-2016. All individuals had verbal with IQ from mild ID to normal IQ with ages from 9 to 18. Statistical descriptive data was analyzed.
All children were able to complete and understand the questionnaire. The distribution of devices used for play was even with consoles (36%) tablets (29%) computers (29%) and a small part with smartphones (6%). At home individuals played with Wii® (47%) and Play Station® (44%) and very few XBOX®(9%).Individual reported playing more often alone (57%) and less frequently with peers (21%)friends (11%)and online (11%) they also reported than then enjoyed more playing alone (66%) rather than with friends (17%) or siblings(7%) or online(10%). Half of the sample reported not liking videogames with blood, guns, and violence (50%) and some report to like them sometimes (29%) and smaller part reported to enjoyed them always (21%). Almost half of the sample did not know how much time they spend playing during school days (41%) or weekends (46%) and some others reported playing one hour (31%) or two (32/23%) a day. Data of favorite games was collected but was related to special interests and was very heterogeneous and more than 200 games in were identified without finding statistical significance in them.
Though limitations on sample size, preliminary results might suggest that children with ASD enjoyed playing with videogames in different devices. Structuring and measuring time of play of videogames is evident and necessary. The fact they like and play more often alone is an interesting focus on intervention considering most of them have one console at home. Violent videogames, a general concern of parents and professionals, might not be the most popular ones for people with ASD unlike the typical peers and their preferences might be tied to their special interest, and might be useful to foster social motivation and interactions if videogames are played with others.
See more of: Sensory, Motor, and Repetitive Behaviors and Interests