Autism

Review the effectiveness of gamification in improving the quality of educating children with autism

Scope and purpose

            Research shows that technology can help children with disabilities, encourage their social-cognitive developmental and increase their self-confidence, so these children prefer using computer programs with high interactions to conventional educational methods. While computer games as well as the concept of gamification play an important role in this arena. On the other hand, nowadays people with special and exceptional needs are considered too much, Meanwhile psychology is one of the fields that timely and accurate training plays an important role on it. In this study, one of the most common neurological disorders called autism spectrum is considered that affects the ability of communicating with others and is recognized in the first three years of person’s life.

Although specific set of symptoms have been identified for patients with this disease, but no two autistic patients are exactly similar to each other.  From this perspective, in teaching children with autism, adapting training methods with exclusively each child’s cognitive abilities is so important. However, research indicates the increment of Transitioning traditional formal education to non-formal, social and more creative learning environments using game elements and mechanics, so we’ll have independent children with better understanding.

Ongoing activities

            Now we are developing our program to suit the needs, challenges and special features of autistic children, so that does not make problems for them  and lead them to a greater understanding of their own emotional states and the others in different  social situations. It is noteworthy that from the beginning of the study to now that we are developing our educational program, with constant presence in autistic patients educational environments and using advice and guidance of expert trainers in this field, including occupational therapist, game therapist and speech therapist, we tried to recognize more and deeper needs, challenges and characteristics of this particular group and at all stages we’ve been  benefited from both valid scientific research and effective field observations. In the field of observational activities autism charity foundation in Tehran has highest contribution both at knowing people with autism spectrum or designing the educational program. Daily average 20 to 30 child goes to this center for counseling, education and medical treatment and they are from the age of 3 to 20. Private occupational therapy center named Pooyesh is also another center that I went during this time that with guidance of this center’s therapist I got good points about designing my program. For example, leveling or grading the game is very important, since autistic children may withdraw or does not show any interest to continue playing if the level or hardness of game increase. For this reason, the game shall be grading system that the coach was able to change it in such a way as it is done manually. For this reason, the game grading system should be how that the teacher be able to change it in such a way and sometimes can do it manually. On the other hand game should decrease child’s response time over time. In this study we tried to use these points effectively.

According to the table above, most participants have paid close attention to game elements such as program music, positive feedback system, and rating system. However, in some cases, children did not pay close attention to factors such as negative feedback systems.

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