Video Games Offer Hope for Autistic Children

March 08, 2014

by Naharnet Newsdesk
Image

The game over, a beaming Sawyer and Michael, both 10, cheer and give each other a high-five.

It is a small but significant reaction that experts say shows how children with autism can benefit from playing some computer games.

The Steuart W. Weller Ashburn Elementary School in Virginia is one of the specialized centers in the United States testing Microsoft's popular Xbox game console, equipped with "Kinect."

With Kinect, launched by Microsoft in 2010, kids can play videogames without controllers. Instead, they use their bodies to dictate the action on the screen, courtesy of a motion detector.

Kinect was not specifically designed for children with autism, but experts say the device is proving beneficial for some with the disability.

"The positive high-fives, the cheering for each other, that was something that wasn't seen as often, and it became a regular thing for Sawyer," Anne-Marie Skeen, a specialist teacher at the Virginia school, told Agence France Presse.

"Now, whenever we praise him, he gives us high-fives because he knows that's a good way to say, 'good job.'"

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