Published On: Tue, Feb 21st, 2023

Minecraft Helps Kids with Autism Learn Social Skills

Minecraft helps kids with autism learn social skills through the gaming process, offering ways to communicate without having to appear “socialized.” Microsoft’s Minecraft skin editor determines every behavior that will be enacted by your child’s avatar as he interacts with other role players in his world. 

Although one of the purposes of Minecraft is to help children socialize with others, parental controls can be enacted to make sure that your child is focused on less frustrating aspects of the game such as seeking out raw materials to build structures, and designing landscapes.

Image/ArtsyBee via pixabay

An Exercise in Confidence Building 

Minecraft is confidence-building for autistic children who often have enhanced spatial abilities, but less verbal abilities. The Minecraft character can learn how to be a team player by interacting with other Minecraft skins. The pre-programming of the character can also help an autistic child understand how actions can generate punitive reactions from others.

Yet another benefit of using a skin editor MC is that Minecraft parental controls can be enacted to limit the extent of the skin’s interaction with any other players with undesirable skins. This reduces the likelihood of upsetting encounters with other Minecraft role-players who may misinterpret the autistic individual’s lack of expression as resentment or hostility. To prevent this, reactions are coded into the character in advance using the Minecraft skin builder.

How Minecraft Helps With Autism

An article in EDTECK Review discusses the use of Minecraft “make your own skin” downloads to assist with the different aspects of autism. Minecraft is often compared to Lego, as everything is built with blocks that can be interlocked to create more complex structures. Generally, this type of absorbing activity would be enjoyed solo by an autistic personality, but Minecraft’s social component allows players to interact with others.

Teamwork can be a challenge for autistic individuals because find reading facial expressions difficult. Involvement in multiplayer Minecraft sessions allows them to communicate without the stress of performing as others do, The Minecraft character teaches the autistic person how to act by repeating the example of appropriate reactions, with the hope that the autistic person will be able to replicate this social skill in real life by rote.

A World Unto Itself

Minecraft is also a virtual world, where individuals are given a second chance. Any social faux-pas can be reversed, which enables individuals to practice “reverse engineering.” and get it right the second time. Minecraft is also very user-friendly, which minimizes exasperation with the learning the game. The repetitive nature of creating Minecraft worlds soothes anxious feelings for some people. Creation of both skins and worlds requires the intense focus that autistic individuals enjoy.

Autistic students that can’t seem to follow along in class are better able to understand math, geometry, design and language by learning from within the solitude of the Minecraft matrix. This can help them develop the social and professional skills that were lost to them because of distractions in the classroom environment. 

Minecraft Is About Communication, Confidence and Teamwork

Minecraft helps kids with autism learn social skills, without having to experience the awkwardness and self-consciousness that they may be experiencing in real life social and learning situations. The make your own skin aspect of the game allows autistic kids to build a socially acceptable mask that expresses emotions and communicates for them. When they experience the joy of a good personal interaction, their confidence builds, and they retain the memory of the positive social behavior.

In the end, the behaviors that autistic Minecraft players learn while playing the game can help them develop more self-confidence and express themselves more effectively than if they find themselves working at a job that requires teamwork. Working with Minecraft behaviors can also teach autistic players that sometimes actions communicate more effectively than words and that awkwardness or self-consciousness does not ever have to play a part in their professional sphere or social life.

Author: Amara Etter

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