How Can Minecraft Help Kids With Autism?

How is Minecraft Helping Kids with Autism? 

According to  WHO, around one child in a hundred is autistic. This is an average number, and the reported prevalence varies considerably from one study to another. However, some well-monitored studies have reported significantly higher figures. In many low- and middle-income countries, it is unknown how prevalent Autism is.

Some of the common symptoms of Autism are that kids usually struggle to speak and understand others' thoughts and emotions, as well as their own, which makes it difficult for many children to build enduring relationships with those around them.

That is where Minecraft can help.

Minecraft, an online building game, began as an Indy game set in an essentially infinite world populated with various toys, animals, and other players, with access to various multi-coloured building blocks that can be combined into complex structures. It is more of a virtual Lego world, and the concept has proved so popular that Minecraft has sold nearly 72 million copies to date. 

In simple words, it provides an environment that encourages social interaction while students learn to communicate and play according to the well-defined rules of the game. Teachers and autism experts worldwide report that when kids work together in multiplayer mode, they discover how to speak to each other, share ideas and say what they want others to do with their project.

Unlike their traditional counterparts, these Minecraft teams consist of a handful of people working on skeletal budgets. Their games are generally simpler than mainstream titles, but what they lack in multimedia effects that they often offset in gameplay, and a well-developed game can easily win the following sect.

We cannot deny that for autistic children, daily social situations can be difficult; they may have difficulty grasping social cues or understanding someone else's point of view. However, when it comes to Minecraft, it provides a view of the world and the rules which structure it and remove the typical worldly pressures. There is no noisy or unfamiliar environment to distract them, no pressure to follow someone else's facial expressions or care about eye contact. When it comes to Minecraft, they can be themselves. Social interactions, relationships, communication – it is all about them and their keyboard.

While in the classroom, this helps teachers show students that many things in the real world are not that complicated.

In Minecraft, kids can easily handle blocks of materials like wood and stone to build anything they want, from painstaking reconstructions of cities to simple computers. This is a great way for children, especially children with Autism, to play a game they love and have a social experience. Minecraft gives these children a different way to express themselves and communicate without the stress of physical life.

So, what are other ways? How does Minecraft further help kids with Autism? 

Better Communication Skills

Minecraft offers a new method of communication for children with lower social skills. Gamers can interact in the world and send messages to each other in the game. Children can explore the world together or co-create their most recent invention or artwork. They also learn to communicate by typing short words, often spelt incorrectly, sometimes before being able to write.

There are various examples of siblings not playing together to share a great bond after the introduction of Minecraft in their life. There are cases of children getting frustrated or yelling in the initial days but later can be seen encouraging and challenging each other in the game -- building their relationship; also learning how to resolve a conflict and use their communication skills.

The same dynamic is played with children with Autism -Minecraft; they get to learn social lessons effortlessly. By understanding why people have to act a certain way in a Minecraft context, they can apply the same rules to give meaning to real situations.

Gives Engaging Experience

Minecraft has been successfully integrated into school curricula and extracurricular clubs, popular with teachers and students. Minecraft helps creative educators try out a myriad of interesting ways of engaging students, including virtual science experiments, intriguing planning for stories, and visualization of arithmetic and geometry in mathematics.

Although researchers have not yet quantified the value of this new education modality, many promising articles point to measurable improvements in learning, particularly in the special needs community.

Reduces Anxiety

 Minecraft may also be considered to have an anti-anxiety effect. Many psychologists have used Minecraft in visualization exercises and mindfulness training with some measure of success. Many psychologists have used Minecraft in visualization and mindful training exercises with some degree of success, which, according to writer and researcher Brené Brown, is the key to building resilience and recovery after negative experiences.

Provides Rules Free Environment

Minecraft is the freedom kids with Autism get while playing in the sandbox environment of the game. Many kids with Autism claim that you can build almost anything. This is particularly interesting because children affected by Autism usually desire repetition and rules and know what to expect.

Ease of use

Another good thing, Minecraft allows its players to begin with simple designs before moving on to complexity. For children with Autism, it can be good to build at their own pace and in a way that they feel comfortable without being overwhelmed.

These children may view Minecraft as a "place where they can go" and where they can have control. It is a world in which they are competent and able to succeed, allowing them to navigate the world of video games rather than the real world.

Gives Surrealistic Experience

Minecraft is appreciated by many simply because its gaming world has logic similar to reality, but it is easier to handle and less permanent.

Allows to Build Anything

Since Minecraft is an online building game that lets you build whatever you like, it attracts children with autism spectrum disorders more because it allows them to do anything they want in the game without following a specific story.

Let's Follow Personal Interests

Since Minecraft is more "fun" because it helps you kill zombies, creepers, and endermen; and do more. In addition, other obscure facts from Minecraft that you might not follow are consistent with what is often observed about children on the spectrum when discussing a special interest. Often, children with Autism as obscure and idiosyncratic parts of a popular game or technology. So, although they share an interest in something popular like Minecraft, their particular passion may differ from that of their peers.

Allows to Do Wrong

As with Legos, there is virtually nothing you can do in Minecraft that is wrong that a player cannot take apart and try again. While in some modes of Minecraft, players can get "killed," they can always come back again. In the creative mode, players need not be concerned with someone destroying or changing their creations.

Interruption Free Play Environment

Minecraft lets you control creations and is very alluring to players with Autism. It provides a vibrant world in which creativity, exploration, and productivity occur on the player's terms. In the creative mode, Minecraft allows the player to have a great deal of control over their environment. Minecraft also rewards discovery in a way that does not prompt anxiety and fear. While many children with Autism crave routine and familiarity, Minecraft becomes a safe place to develop flexibility. They can explore an unknown world and face fears without giving up safety.

Minecraft Video For Support

How do I use Minecraft to Help Kids with Autism?

Needless to say, Minecraft provides a dynamic world in which creativity, exploration, and productivity occur under the conditions of the gamer. In creative mode, Minecraft lets the player have much control over his environment. Minecraft also awards the discovery in a way that does not cause anxiety and fear. While many autistic children yearn for routine and familiarity, Minecraft becomes a safe place to develop flexibility. They can explore an unknown world and confront fears without relinquishing safety.

About the Author
Author: Saniya Khan
Saniya Khan I am Saniya Khan, Copy-Editor at EdTechReview - India’s leading edtech media. As a part of the group, my aim is to spread awareness on the growing edtech market by guiding all educational stakeholders on latest and quality news, information and resources. A voraciously curious writer with a dedication to excellence creates interesting yet informational pieces, playing with words since 2016.

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