Objectives: To investigate children’s perceptions and attitudes about video gaming choice as well as parental beliefs, attitudes and control regarding video gaming choice.
Methods: A survey of 100 children with ASD (ages 7-18) will be conducted along with a group of 100 age-matched controls. Participants will be selected from the database of a local school district. Participants will be excluded for co-morbidity with other major neurological or genetic disorders prior to inclusion. Participation and consent by the subject and parent/caregiver will be voluntary. Developmental age and cognitive ability of the ASD and control children participants will be obtained. Information regarding social development will be obtained through the Social Responsiveness Scale for all participants. Severity of autism symptoms will be measured with the Aberrant Behavior Checklist for the ASD population. Survey data will include amount of time playing video games, current game type preferences, video game-playing history including age of starting video game playing, and degree of parental control and concern.
Results: Hypotheses to be investigated: 1) The factors of developmental age/cognitive ability, severity of autism symptoms, and parental degree of concern/control influence the type of game played by the ASD population 2) Progression of age-appropriate video game choice does not progress at the same developmental rate in the ASD population relative to age-matched controls 3) Parents of ASD children as compared to parents of control children will exhibit greater control and greater concern regarding gaming choice and play. Results from this survey will be presented.
Conclusions: Strengths and weaknesses of the methodology and implications for developing a video game that enhances social skill development will be discussed.