While I’ve read and been told that video games have an adverse effect on children with autism we have experienced the opposite.
Back when Kallan was 5 years old he became obsessed with volcanoes. This obsession did not give him much in common with his peers. In fact he rather bored them with his endless prattle about the worlds biggest volcano.
It was while looking up volcano documentaries on YouTube that Kallan came across a video of a game minecraft. He saw you could build volcanoes with lava and immediately wanted to play it.
Kallan took to the game straight away. He loved playing in the creative mode, where he could build anything. He was very creative building huge castles and farms. By watching YouTube he also learned to play survival mode, where you begin the game with nothing and have to collect different items to build tools and then a house to survive the night where you can be killed by zombies or other bad guys.
While there are bad guys as such there is no real violence or gore in the game and when you die you just restart and can actually go back and collect the stuff you dropped.
Soon both the boys were enjoying the game and were doing something that hadn’t happened before, playing together. They could link up and play the same game and help each other out. Even I joined in and played. As I always say obsession is a powerful tool. So I used the game to interact more and more with the boys.
At school Kallan discovered there were a few other children who were also playing minecraft and he finally had something in common with the children his age.
In saying this of course there have been times he’s been frustrated with the game or him and Campbell have had huge bust ups over who owned what or killed who in the game. There have been times we’ve had to force them off the game also.
I like to think outside of the box. Times have changed a lot, technology has come so far and I think sometimes we need to embrace it. Yes it’s true that I never spent much time on video games as a child but only because we didn’t have games like they do today. The boys both watch a lot on YouTube. I think that kids these days are more visual learners. My children have learnt so much from watching documentaries they found on YouTube. They’re a wealth of knowledge on a broad range of subjects.
As long as these things are used appropriately they can be a powerful tool.
One of Kallan’s favourite YouTube channels is DanTDM (the diamond minecart). He has watched this channel since he was 6 years old and learnt a lot of secrets and tricks to playing minecraft from Dan. This year for his birthday Kallan is going to see Dan live on stage. Don’t ask me what happens in a live show by a YouTube Vlogger who films himself playing minecraft but it must be good as he is doing sell out shows across the country!
So although some would disagree I don’t mind my kids enjoying video games at all,