Autism comes in various degrees but the one thing that nearly all autistic children have in common is a lack of social interaction. Statistics show that 1 out of every 110 babies born will develop autism by the age of two. This means that a large portion of the population will be diagnosed with the disease. Carrie Pritchard, a psychology professor, hopes that the new video game that she is working on will benefit all Autistic children. Using the $20,000 cash prize, Pritchard is teaming up with several video game developers on the project.
There have been several conflicting studies involving video games and children with Autism. Although Autistic children are usually able to play video games with proficiency some researchers feel that it only isolates them even further. By designing a game that includes visuals of people interacting, Pritchard thinks that Autistic children will be able to gain enough confidence to start seeking out friendships on their own.
Pritchard’s own son has Asperger’s Syndrome, which is a variation of Autism. Three local university students are working with the professor and they are coming up with new, exciting ideas each day. The developers of the yet unnamed game are still many months away from completion but Pritchard’s connections and influence on the Autistic community will help her to get a buzz going before the title is launched. Pritchard doesn’t plan on profiting from the sale of her game as she feels that it is much more important to provide a beneficial tool to children with disabilities.