Games For Autistic ChildrenEDUCATION, INTERVIEWS, PARENTING, PRODUCTS | Nirasha Jaganath | April 27, 2009 at 9:33 pm
As part of my tribute to the April dedication to Autism, here is my 2nd article in the feature. Make sure you read the post on the AMC and Autism. Here we explore Children Succeed, an online company offering games that help strengthen social and communication skills for children on the Autism spectrum. I spoke to Joan Nash who began this company in November 2008, but has been working with Autistic children for 20 years as a school psychologist
Look at the games offered. Let’s Talk is an interactive card game that teaches kids to stay on topic and take turns while they learn the give and take of conversation. About Faces is a card game that helps children to read facial expressions. Emotto is an emotion recognition dice game that motivates children to recognize, match and mimic the facial expressions seen on their game boards. She provides eye stickers with each order, The eye stickers increase eye contact for children on the spectrum Two of the eye stickers are placed on the face and the child is encouraged to make eye contact with the eye stickers. It is much easier fro the child to look at the stickers on a forehead than it is to look at another person’s eyes.
Although these games have been used for years it has taken a long time dealing with the intricacies of manufacturing a game. It is pretty apparent that Joan takes pride in her work since the impact is such a personal and profound one. I asked her what her hope for Autism was: “I think one of the best forms of education for society is the current mainstreaming that is taking place in our schools today. Children are sitting side by side with kids on the spectrum. They are getting to know each other as individuals. They have the opportunity to become familiar with their similarities and not just their differences. “
She also relayed an example from her experience reinforcing that notion about a boy in a lunch group a few years ago: “This boy had many heightened senses including his sense of smell. It was so acute that he became nauseous when he came in contact with other kid’s lunches. Instead of seeing this characteristic as strange, the other boys saw it as cool. They decided that this boy could become a great detective since he could smell things that no one else could. They actually envied his sense of smell. They took charge of opening the windows before they opened their lunches and asked the boy if their lunches bothered him. This understanding never would have happened if this boy was not placed in a mainstream classroom.”
* image courtesy of Children Succeed