Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a range of conditions surrounding challenges in behavioural, social and communication skills. It usually occurs in the early years of childhood where 1 out of 68 children are diagnosed in America. 63% of children with ASD from ages 6-15 are bullied because of lack of awareness and compassion. They are marginalized in their schools and in their community, shunning them as outsiders.
Critter Central is a mobile game that promotes the uniques abilities of children who fall in the wide array of the autism spectrum by creating characters that reflects their conditions. The goal of the game is to normalize children’s understanding of autism through the journeys of each character. Each journey and character is unique and exhibits an experience one might feel on the ASD spectrum. For example, if a character has Asperger’s Syndrome, a high functioning autistic person, their task is slightly easier than someone who has autistic disorder, a person who can’t express themselves quite as easily.
By creating creatures that represents these characteristics, children can learn about what autism is, different types of ASD and why the uniqueness of their disability matters. Through the experience of gaming, I am trying to create empathy in non-autistic children in hopes that they will change the minds and create open communication about autism. Critter Central allows non-ASD children to relate to their autistic friends and create dialogue and friendship and hopefully reduce bullying.