Being a father of an autistic child, I am always looking for new ways that my four-year-old son and I can spend time together and connect. Over the past two years, he has shown an increasing interest in video games. This comes as no surprise, given that autistic children often develop an interest in the likes of art and music.
While being unable to play them himself, my son gets tremendous enjoyment out of simply watching. I find that video games tend to relax him or improve his mood during times of frustration or sensory overload. But the problem I have always had when it comes to his interest in them is figuring out what games he enjoys. That is why with the help of my son, I have decided to write this list.
My son's response to these five games has been very positive. This may not be the case with all autistic children. as each child is very different. But out of dozens of games, here are the five mobile games that he responded to with the most positivity.
Please note that my son is unable to play video games himself and instead watches me playing them. He is also unable to speak, therefore his response to games is entirely through emotion, actions and sound.
Subway Surfers is a runner video game co-developed by Kiloo and SYBO Games. The objective of the game is to run as far as possible while avoiding obstacles, collecting power-ups and money. You can then use the money to buy additional upgrades to help you progress ever further.
My son immediately took interest in this one. I feel it is due to the bright colors and fast-paced nature of the game. He often showed quite a bit of excitement. He was glued to it for a good thirty minutes before the phone's battery died, which he wasn't particularly happy about. I had to immediately plug in the phone to continue playing for a while longer.
While it isn't a game that would keep anyone's attention for a long period of time. I find it would be a great game to have on standby in a waiting room to keep an autistic child happy during the wait.
Horizon Chase is a racing game developed by Aquiris Game Studio. The game features 16 cars, 73 tracks across 32 cities, weather changes, and more. The objective of the game is to compete for a series of Tournament Cups and win them all.
My son really enjoyed this one. I feel it is due to the simple graphics, colorful backgrounds, music, and the fast-paced gameplay. While I was playing he would sit on my lap and often stretched out both arms and legs in excitement for the game.
While his response to it was overall positive, I found him to be a bit picky towards the various tracks. He enjoyed some a lot more than others. I feel this is due to some tracks being brighter while others use darker colors. Expect to have to play a number of tracks repeatedly with this one.
This one is very similar to Subway Surfers. Sonic Dash 2 is a running game developed by Hardlight. The objective is to run as far as possible while collecting rings and avoiding enemies and obstacles.
My son's response to this one is very similar to Subway Surfers. He took an immediate interest that lasted quite a bit of time. Like the previous games, the fast-paced gameplay and bright colors is what grabbed his attention with Sonic Dash 2.
I found he got quite excited about it and generally enjoyed his time watching it. It is a great game to have on standby when you need a calm down for your upset child.
I was determined to find at least one 2D platform style game that my son would enjoy on a mobile device. Lost Journey happened to be the single one I could find that he liked. It's a puzzle platform game developed by DreamSky.
In Lost Journey, your general goal is to reach the end of each level. To do this, you are able to flip the levels and gain access to areas otherwise unreachable. I found this one relaxed my son more than made him excited like the previous games on this list. This is probably more due to the relaxing colors of the background than anything else.
I find this to be a great game during moments of frustration due to sensory overload or attempting to communicate but being unable.
Lost Journey is available to buy on Google Play.
We finish the list with another racing game. This one, however, is a bit different from Horizon Chase in that it takes a more realistic approach to its visuals. Asphalt 8 is developed by GAMELOFT. The game has an array of different cars, tracks and game modes to play and conquer.
This is the game that received the best response for out of any of the three dozen games that I tried with my son. This one had him extremely happy and excited while I was playing -- likely because of the breathtaking scenery and graphics, along with the very fast-paced gameplay.
I found this to be a great game to help brighten one of those bad days. Not only does it greatly improve his mood, but both of us have an absolute blast with it.
Those are the five mobile games that my son had the most positive response to. While this was one of the more challenging articles I have written, it has also been one of the more enjoyable. It allowed the combination of work with spending time with my son, both of us having fun all the while.
While video games are great for relaxing and cheering up autistic children, please remember to make it a treat or use only when necessary. Due to the obsessive nature that can come with autism, it is very easy for such children to become addicted to video games.
What do you think of the list? How has your child responded to these games or others? Please let me know in the comments below!