Autism & Role-Playing Games

Autism Role-playing Games - Psychology, Philosophy, Special Needs - Posted: 16th Jun, 2015 - 2:42am

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Best of  Autism & Role-playing Games RPGs for those on the Autism Spectrum. If you are autistic does being in a role-playing setting help with social skills? Does participating in online play by post methods allow a release?
Post Date: 15th Jun, 2015 - 8:26pm / Post ID: #


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Autism & Role-Playing Games

I have three boys on the autism spectrum. Some days they experience what I term as the "Hulk moment" ? and it can be quite challenging. One of my sons, now a teenager and on the higher end of the Autism Spectrum, has developed his writing skills to such a degree that he can describe things very well especially instruction material. I always try to encourage him in role-playing games because of the collaborative writing style associated with it and the social interaction which needs interactive group thoughts for success.

The best thing to bring about both his writing and social interaction is online play by post material ? such as is available in one of the Role-playing Game Sections of this Community.

A good example of this is having to think as another person or "In-Character" Which might be something that many under the spectrum face as a daily challenge. Not because being in-Character is of itself difficult, but the way that Character interacts with others is where the real 'battle' starts.

Quick Note: The Role-playing Games in this site are BOTH for those on the spectrum or other challenges AND neurotypicals (Those without those challenges). Everyone gets along because there are rigid rules here so people focus on the game and not someone's challenge.

For those that do not like the pressure of groups I have coded a special adventure which encompasses a world called "Ruler of Kings II", a Medieval Fantasy Role-playing Game that allows ANYONE (Neurotypicals too), including those on the Spectrum to go at their pace, make choices and experience an adventure online in a safe environment free from spam, trolls and nonsense. The asynchronous method means there is no pressure. Best of all they can submit how they feel the story should go, what should be added and so forth in a style called, "Collaborative Writing". Please understand… ROK II is for those who enjoy reading, writing and becoming the author of their character therefore it may not appeal to someone on the moderate or low functioning end of the Autism Spectrum.

Role playing helping those on the Autism Spectrum... Has there been any scientific research done? This led me to a search by an undergraduate into the same subject of Role-playing Games effects on Autism. He sent me this Email which I am sharing by his permission:
Attached Image QUOTE (W. A. Hawkes-Robinson)
A more complex answer would do more justice to the results so far, but the short of it is, with proper program planning, significant reduction of "Stereotypical" Behaviors during the activities using Role-playing Game formulas compared to those activities without, better positive experiences with cooperative engagement using Role-playing Game programs than those without, better success rates at completing tasks cooperatively with Role-playing Game approach compared to non-RPG activities, improved efforts at communication with others when using Role-playing Game adapted activities than those without, after initial experiences with Role-playing Game much more likely to seek out opportunities in a more intrinsic self-motivation approach to engage in social tasks due to enjoyment of Role-playing Game despite the extra effort to work in a cooperatively social environment.

Both tabletop and live-action show significant benefits immediately and with only some modification necessary depending on the severity of symptoms
, as long as certain controls are implemented (Balances), while computer-based needs significantly more intervention to maintain balance, but can be achieved if implemented correctly.

That is a very stripped down summary. Please let me know if there is more specific information that might be helpful.

Thank you,
W. A. Hawkes-Robinson / Notes.
Source 6u


Update: Some parents have been asking me how they can get their child involved if there are no Role-playing Game groups in their area or their child cannot handle direct social interaction yet. Again, this is where a Play By Post Community is a very good start. As a web developer, I've spent the last 16+ years developing this International Community as a clean, constructive way to Discuss Topics without having to give your real name, read nonsense, be flamed or see trolling. A global setting helps establish a different view point than what might have been considered by one area or locality. Therefore, anyone becoming a Member will be treated with the respect and dignity they deserve regardless to their challenges. Of course, we do ask everyone in like manner to adhere to the rules in place as it helps all writers get along very well.

Now every Role-playing Game is not the same
. Although Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder are the more popular Role-playing Games they may be too complex at times for some autistic minds because of all the feats, skills, and system rules that are involved. A simpler Role-playing Game that is mostly based on pure role-playing may be a better choice such as is the case with Gwynedd Medieval Village as an example although there are others here as well.

I suggest parents join and see if this place fits their child first before bringing them on board. If this is for you then please browse around and view, besides Role-playing Games there is lots to be learned here, see the "Helpful Options" Below.

What are your thoughts about Role-playing Games as a way to help those on the Autism Spectrum develop social interaction skills and in the case of an online format, writing skills?

Helpful Options:

More Autism Topics and the Psychology, Philosophy, & Special Needs Board. All Boards
Dungeons & Dragons Start Guide
Pathfinder Role-playing Game Start Guide
How To Find The Role-playing Game That Fits Me?

Image from Wizards Dungeons & Dragons Fan Kit for public use.


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Post Date: 15th Jun, 2015 - 9:21pm / Post ID: #


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Interesting. Will a role in a play also help this or drama classes that led to a short play? I can see what you mean with the collaborative writing it forces you think about the logical actions that need to take place. You would then have to choose wisely the words you use to describe what is happening so that a person doesn't run through a door but walks through it.


Post Date: 15th Jun, 2015 - 10:16pm / Post ID: #


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Attached Image QUOTE (Raving)
Will a role in a play also help this or drama classes that led to a short play?

It can but not all persons on the autism spectrum may be able to cope, hence my recommendation for the written version as described at TextRPG.com where the individual player can use writing as a means of release and to interact with others in a safe environment without the pressure of being in person or meeting a set schedule.

Now I am also getting some comments on this, here are some of them:
Attached Image QUOTE
CM: "A lot of roleplayers are on the spectrum"
CL: "I have at least three players who have Aspergers, actually."
CJM: "Thank you for the info as my son is currently facing a challenge though it is with ADHD."
ES: "As someone ON the Autism spectrum I can honestly say that Roleplaying has been the single most important aspect in my social development. This helped me develop social skills, and help me make friends. I feel that it's really helpful."


Post Date: 15th Jun, 2015 - 10:34pm / Post ID: #

Someone commented...

Johannes: I am also diagnosed Asperger's and have found Role-playing Games to be phenomenal for my social development...plus, if you find a good group to play, there are several other benefits:

Expansion of your social circle and support group. I always had a hard time maintaining friendly relationships, but Role-playing Games provide a neutral playing field with a built-in shared interest to work from.

As these bonds strengthen (And I found a really good group of folks), I got a whole network that can I call upon when I need some support but can't get it from more official or familial channels...even when it's just someone to talk to or get advice from.
Post Date: 16th Jun, 2015 - 12:28am / Post ID: #

Someone commented...

John: I'm a Speech Pathologist, and I love to use Role Playing Games with my students when I can. I've mainly been doing it for problem solving, expressive and pragmatic language skills, I hadn't really considered using it for writing, but that's a good idea! Thank you for posting this it's nice to see Role-playing Games getting some of the positive attention they deserve for the good they can do for people.
Post Date: 16th Jun, 2015 - 12:37am / Post ID: #

Someone commented...

Christopher: Interesting stuff. I have a son with Fragile X syndrome, and some of the behaviors and indicators are similar. I know with him, besides the chance to model and play things out, like you could in a RP situation, is always good. Also, incidental learning is a strength socially and educationally - copying what he perceives happening around him and modeling behaviors. We are board and mini gaming family, but I have been really interested in getting back into role-playing again lately. I've even looked at starting with something like Mice and Mystics when the kids get a year or two older to work our way in.
Post Date: 16th Jun, 2015 - 12:43am / Post ID: #


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I'm amazed by the number of views and likes for this Topic. It seems like the association between Role-playing Games and Autism is also observed by others, especially those on the spectrum. I'm trying to compile the most valid responses as other places tend to loose it all to whimsical Posts. Here is also the latest from the current researcher:

Attached Image QUOTE (W. A. Hawkes-Robinson)
You may also find this of interest / use:

List of Created Autism Spectrum Program Plans Utilizing Role-playing

Games as Intervention Modalities From a Therapeutic Recreation Approach:
Source 8f

I received your link for your posting. Thank you.


Post Date: 16th Jun, 2015 - 2:42am / Post ID: #

Someone commented...

Mark: Don't have experience with [the play by post style], but Role-playing Games cured my OCD. Also helped a friend who suffered from depression.
Post Date: Tue Feb 28, 2017 - 14:23:23 GMT / Post ID: #

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