Ad Nut
Apr 12, 2019

Gaming therapy for autistic kids, one dragon at a time

Mcgarrybowen Greater China adapts Dungeons & Dragons rules for a therapeutic game three years in the making.

Gaming therapy for autistic kids, one dragon at a time

A game called ‘The Critical Core’, created by Mcgarrybowen Greater China, along with Game to Grow, Interdisciplinary Council for Developmental Learning, and The Star Institute for Sensory Processing Disorders, is therapeutic not for escapists who slay dragons, but for children with autism.

“I never thought I could get four kids who are on the [autism] spectrum and who have never met each other to sit for 90 minutes and be engaged the entire time, but that is exactly what happened," Lily Smith, an occupational therapist at SPOT Centre in Hong Kong, who participated as a Critical Core testing group facilitator, said in a press release.

A parent of one child added: “Over the years of my son being in different kinds of therapy, we’ve had issues of a lack of transference of skills…into school and into the family circle. This has been different.”

Estimates say as many as one out of every 59 children in the US is autistic to some degree. The game, according to the involved organisations, fills a gap for teenagers on the spectrum, who are often left out of interventions aimed at younger children. In addition, the game will be cheaper than one-on-one therapy sessions that often focus on compliance and normalisation behaviour therapy.

Ad Nut commends Mcgarrybowen for its civic-mindedness. The agency reportedly initiated development of the game three years ago. Because of this uncommon devotion, Ad Nut is inclined to drop the normal suspicions about "award bait" that naturally crop up when such campaigns for social good come along.

The caveat is, the project needs to complete its funding targets on Kickstarter before any actual game sets will be produced. It is open for financial contributions until 25 April.

Ad Nut is a surprisingly literate woodland creature that for unknown reasons has an unhealthy obsession with advertising. Ad Nut gathers ads from all over Asia and the world for your viewing pleasure, because Ad Nut loves you. You can also check out Ad Nut's Advertising Hall of Fame, or read about Ad Nut's strange obsession with 'murderous beasts'.


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