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Video Games May Help Autistic Children

There is still so much we don't know about autism, which often leads one to experience communication challenges, difficulty with social interactions and a tendency to repeat behaviors.

But a new study published in the in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science suggests that non-violent storytelling games could be helpful in curbing certain social aspects of autism, as reported in Raw Story.

"The motivation to engage in and enjoy video games corresponds with principals that apply to human motivation in general," said the study's lead author, Daniel Bormann of the University of Freiburg, in a press release. "For instance, successful game franchises offer players a spectrum of meaningful choices to shape the game's narrative and environment, provide carefully balanced challenges, or encourage players to experience social connectedness and meaningful social interactions."

In simpler terms, the idea is that learning to navigate the world of a non-violent video game may help youngsters with autism better interact in the world around them.

MORE: 10 Early Sings of Autism

The concept researchers are working with is called "theory of mind," and considers how players are able to access the mental state of others. Depending on the games played, autistic children were able to perceive meaningful choices and relationships, or develop their social skills.

"If further research could reveal how exactly in-game storytelling affects theory of mind, clinicians and software developers could utilize this knowledge to develop tools to aid the treatment of disorders characterized by social-interaction impairments, like autistic disorders," Bormann said.

This news is also promising because while boys are also much more likely than girls to play video games, they are also more likely to have autism. One in 43 boys are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, compared to one in 189 girls, according to Autism Speaks.

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