Game idea development – Diagnosis: Part 2

This is a follow up blog post of my previous post ‘Game idea development – Diagnosis’ and consists of further research into a section of my target market. I noticed in my previous post I didn’t really research into signs of autism, obviously this is important as without understanding a portion of my market properly how do I hope to create something to benefit the individual without fully understanding them and their needs?

Here are some signs that a child may have autism include difficulty in the following;

  • Communicating verbally and non-verbally
  • Relating to other individuals
  • Interacting to others
  • Ignoring name being called
  • Preferring to have a particular routine
  • Avoiding using spoken language
  • Not understanding social gestures such as waving or handshakes
  • Avoiding eye contact

I was thinking, by adding game mechanics which could trigger a childs response, would this be an effective and ethical method of bringing to light potential learning difficulty? Thinking of a range of game mechanics I could use, the most effective ones I could think of where the following;

  • Behavioral Momentum – This would keep the player repeating the same objectives or task, the reason I thought this could be used effectively as children with autism prefer routine so to see how a child responds during a routine and after when something changes will help us evaluate the child.
  • Appointments – This would link in with Loss aversion, but to make the player have to be at a particular place within the game during a particular time will alter an individuals behavior and flag up any major changes.
  • Countdown
  • Levels
  • Loss aversion

On a side note, during my research I stumbled across two interesting videos. The first video is titled Autism: Sensory overload simulation and is about an individuals trip to wal-mart so that someone with a normal development can experience what it like to suffer from autism. I was shocked by the video as I was unaware how extreme it can be for some individuals plus I was unsure if autism could effect an individuals vision to that extent so I decided to research into it and discovered ‘

‘Visual problems are very common in individuals with autism. Visual symptoms of autism can include lack of eye contact, staring at spinning objects or light, fleeting peripheral glances, side viewing, and difficulty attending visually.

Autistic people often use visual information inefficiently. They have problems coordinating their central and peripheral vision. For example, when asked to follow an object with their eyes, they usually do not look directly at the object. Instead, they will scan or look off to the side of the object. Autistic individuals might also have difficulty maintaining visual attention. Eye movement disorders and crossed eyes are common in the autistic spectrum.’

this made me wonder, should I try to put something within my game to make the individual have to focus on an object as then the educator would be able to notice the way the individual handles this visual stimuli and in turns would only help with showing symptoms so that the child could be properly treated if needs be. After this, I dug a little deeper and discovered that an individual has been working on a demo for a game called Auti-sim which was influenced by the first video so that people can experience aspects of life through the eyes of someone who has autism. I found this incredibly interesting and useful especially when it came to understanding my market more.

Also while I was browsing the internet I stumbled across an article which appeared in the daily mail about an app being created which can detect signs of autism better than some of the individuals within the medical field. The app breaks down into three tests; the first tracks how long it takes for a child to follow the movement of the changing stimulus. The second test passes a toy around a childs FoV (Field of vision) and looks out for any delay. The third would be the individual giving the test would roll a ball and look for any eye contact with the child. Feel free to check out this article, it really is an interesting read and I intend to apply some of the things I have discovered within my research to aid with the development of my game idea.

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