If your autistic child can operate a few controls on the computer, then it may be worthwhile to invest in some computer games for them. And if they can’t, it may be time to introduce them to the keyboard. This is because computer games offer a lot more to autistic children than just a few hours of fun. These benefits range from helping to curb some symptoms of autism such as stimming to educating your autistic child to improve their memory and cognitive function.
Even better, you don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money on these games. Many can be found for free online, and many others can be bought very cheaply. Games can also give carers of autistic children a good break as the children safely engross themselves in educational and fun games while also building up their own independence on the computer, a vital tool in today’s life.
Some suitable categories of computer games for autistic children can be found below.
- Puzzle Games for Autistic Children
Puzzle games can range from being very simple and only requiring your autistic child to use a mouse, such as a game like Bejewelled, to a complex world-based game like Myst. This is great on a number of levels. Firstly, it means that you can introduce puzzle games to your autistic child slowly, allowing them to build up their levels of skill before they move on to the next. Secondly, a lot of the simpler games can be found for free online, so you don’t have to buy something expensive just to see if your autistic child enjoys these types of games. Finally, the range of puzzle games out there and their different levels of difficulty mean that you can actually use these games as an educational tool for your autistic children.
Personal note: My younger brother, who is classed as severely autistic on the autism spectrum disorder, absolutely loves the old game Lode Runner. This can be downloaded for free or bought online. With only arrow keys and one other key to control, this is a great puzzle game that increases in complexity with its levels and can also be played with another person.
- Tower Defense Games for Autistic Children
Tower Defense games are a category of games requiring players to build static objects like armed towers or mounted guns or even plants in a strategic manner to defend against invading hordes. These games can be great for developing your autistic child’s sense of strategy, while also being fundamentally very simple to comprehend and play. An appropriate and fun tower defense game for your autistic child is Capcom’s great Plants vs. Zombies, which can be found very cheaply in stores and online. There are also tower defense games to be found online for free.
- Learning Games for Autistic Children
These days, there are several games for educational purposes out there. This category can include something also built for fun like Scrabble, as well as the games on sites such as Math Playground built specifically for teaching children Math. These games are incredibly prolific online – for instance, you can play solitary Scrabble on pogo.com, or you can play multiplayer Scrabble on Facebook – both for free! Not only will your autistic child increase their vocabulary and cognitive memory abilities, they can also communicate online with others in a safe social environment and develop their social skills.
These are just a few categories of games for autistic children – there are many more out there. In fact, as your autistic child progresses with their computer skills, they may even begin playing more complex multiplayer games, where there are multiple players that you may have to cooperate with to reach an objective, building valuable teamwork and social skills in a safe environment. So with all these benefits, try a computer game for your autistic child today. It may prove to be one of the better investments that you make.