The Xbox Kinect Connects with Autistic Children « Autism Mom BlogAutism Mom Blog

The Xbox Kinect Connects with Autistic Children

As technology continues to advance, so do the different programs available for autistic children. Programs like the Zac Browser and Mouse Trial’s popular software package have allowed autistic children to learn to express themselves and expand their vocabulary. While specific programs for autistic children have found success amongst children with the neural development disorder, many still struggle to use technologies released for the general public. That pattern may be beginning to change, however, with the release of new gaming systems that incorporate a player’s motions with his on-screen persona.

The Nintendo Wii was one of the first consoles to popularize the idea of using a small controller equipped with sensors to detect the body’s movement, and mimic those movements in a video game. The Wii quickly overtook other gaming consoles, such as the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3,  to become the most popular gaming system in the world. Since the release of the Wii console, several other companies have released similar systems that don’t rely on the traditional hand held video game controller.

PlayStation released its own motion-controlled component last month, which is known as the PlayStation Move. Kinect is the latest console to enter the motion-gaming arena, and  is sold as an add-on component for Microsoft’s Xbox system. Unlike the Wii, the Kinect  and PlayStation Move uses\ a small camera to track the user’s motions. The Xbox Kinect also features unique face and voice recognition capabilities. The new console has received fairly positive reviews since its release, with most reviewers agreeing that the add-on works well for casual gamers and is fun to use.

John Yan, a game reviewer for a site called Gaming Nexus, purchased the gaming system upon its release, in order to review it for the site. Yan has a four-year old son named Kyle, who is generally unable to play video games, as they prove to be too difficult to master, due to the complicated controls. Nevertheless, Yan says his young son always asks if he can play with the different systems Yan brings home.

Yan revealed in a blog post on Gaming Nexus that his son had tried to play games on the Wii, but had little success mastering the device. He called his son’s experience with the Xbox Kinect “pretty amazing,” describing how his son enjoyed playing a game called Kinect Adventures. Yan also revealed his astonishment at his son’s ease in controlling the system’s menu, and called the system “intuitive enough that I spent barely any time teaching my four-year old special needs son” how to use the device.

Yan went on to detail how happy he was to be able to include his son in the gaming that is such a pivotal aspect of his life. Yan’s experiences have encouraged other parents of autistic children who have faced similar difficulties with their own children. As more games for the device are developed, its hoped that other autistic children will be able to enjoy similar experiences with the gaming console.

Kyle Simpson writes for AdvanceMe, the nation’s leading merchant cash advance provider.

2 comments to The Xbox Kinect Connects with Autistic Children

  • Tammy – Thanks for sharing this information! It’s wonderful how technology is helping individuals with autism discover other ways to communicate and interact. I just hope that parents remember there is no substitute for one-to-one interaction with a child. The bonding that social interaction with a trusted loved one brings is well known but let us not forget the added benefit of rewiring the social part of the brain – a great way to enhance brain development and make the important connections kids with autism need. So make sure you play these games WITH your child as often as you can – you can’t help but have fun!

  • tamara

    i agree i have a 7 yr old child who has autism and kinects is easier for her to use but the games like the animal one is hard for her she love the animals but the challenges are hard for her do. do u know if they are going to come out with learning games for our children that would be great. and agree nothing better then one on one but its so hard for her to see her brothers and sister playing there games at game time and she tries but feels bad cause her cant win the challenges even thou we all tell her great job she did so good she still feels bad cause that not what she sees them get

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