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  • Writer's pictureNatasha Schellander

Boost your teens social skills with online gaming

For many teenagers with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), online gaming has become a social haven. A virtual world can be an emotional outlet to release frustration safely or connect with others and build meaningful relationships. Despite this, online gaming has often been a contentious debate. In this article, we will explore the benefits of online gaming, which recent studies have backed up. Will they suggest that online gaming is an effective way for teens with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to enhance their social skills? Read on to find out!


Benefits of online gaming for people with ASD

To do well in most games, you need to be able to read social cues, cooperate with other players, and communicate your intentions effectively. This can come as a challenge to some neurodiverse people. Still, research completed by the Department of Information and Communication Technologies (DTIC) has shown that spending time playing in a digital world can improve the quality of social interaction, making people feel more confident.


1. Games offer visually stimulating virtual environments that enrich visual-spatial reasoning and pattern recognition.


Games can provide a unique form of entertainment for people who often have difficulty interacting with others. They can be a safe and controlled environment where people can practice their skills and potentially make friends. Games offer a fun and stimulating activity that people of all abilities can enjoy.


2. Online games encourage fantasy-based, imaginative play


For people with ASD showing a strong affinity for role-playing and action-adventure games this can be enjoyable. However, online games often tend to avoid the self-generated creative skills that many with ASD might find difficult.


3. Games provide visual and spatial clues.


Some people with ASD might have difficulty understanding abstract concepts, but games can give clear examples that explain these ideas.


4. Video games have clear, predetermined objectives with regular reinforcement.


People with ASD can often be drawn to repetition and routine. The unpredictability of human behaviour, social signals, humour, irony, and satire can be particularly difficult. Fears of the unknown create discomfort. Conversely, video games provide a secure environment with defined boundaries. The rules are constant, and the player knows what to expect. The social interaction also takes place in short bursts, which is ideal for people who often find extended social interactions overwhelming. Players can also take a break if they need to without feeling like they have failed socially.


5. Video games can improve social skills.


Social skills are often utilised, reinforced and practised in gaming. This includes reciprocal speech, turn taking and good sportsmanship.


6. Inspires educational career paths.


Some individuals can learn about design, coding, and problem-solving depending on the game. This can open up lead to careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). These fields often provide great job opportunities.


Need support?


If you would like to explore options, the team at Socially Speaking are here for you. We are specialists in supporting people with ASD, ADHD, and other social challenges.







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