Those of us who do not have autism cannot understand what living with autism is like. After all, we can’t get inside another person’s head or body. But recently I’ve discovered I can get a feeling for what it’s like. Thanks to Minecraft and Angry Birds Go! I’ve had a little peek into the autism world.
- My son with autism is a Minecraft expert. He can talk to you for hours about Minecraft, and he understands it. For me, it’s like he is talking a different language. Sometimes my eyes glaze over and I feel myself hearing Charlie Brown’s teacher, even though I want to understand. I imagine that is what it is like for some of our friends living with autism. They want to understand social cues, they want to be able to communicate with others. It’s just not working for them.
- When I play Angry Birds Go! with my boys, I feel very out of control. The go carts race down the virtual track and I stink at steering. I end up crashing. I go upside down. I’ve even gone backwards down the track. It’s a very disconcerting feeling. Think about those living with autism. There are lots of things they can’t control every day. Consider living with that stress all the time!
- I’m pretty bad at navigating inside Minecraft and I already told you how horrible I am at steering in Angry Birds Go! Working inside these games gives me another perspective of my autistic son’s sensory issues. I have to turn the music down so I can concentrate. I experience motion sickness watching him move quickly through Minecraft or doing the loop on the Angry Birds Go! stunt track. What if your sensory issues didn’t go away? What if you were always unsure of your balance, or voices made your ears hurt? What if eating simple foods made you want to gag? What if you couldn’t stand being touched and the slightest bump set you on edge? For many folks living with autism, that’s how it is every day, every hour.
- When my son gets to talk about Minecraft with someone else, you can see the excitement. Someone is interested in him. They’re speaking his language, so to speak, by allowing him to talk about one of his favorite things. Minecraft gives him a bridge, a way to make friends and have something to discuss, something to do together. It always helps to have a common interest, doesn’t it?
I have to say, I never expected to learn about autism from video games. These experiences have given me some valuable insights into my son’s life with autism. Where have you found unexpected lessons?
To see 27 other things I’ve learned from being an autism parent, click here.
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