Andy is in the Magic Garden. He needs to grow some flowers and some carrots, and tidy up the apples that fell off the tree. Can you help him?
The three mini-games in Andy’s Garden were developed as part of a PhD project which asked the question, “Can novel and surprising elements of computer games motivate children with autism to communicate with other people?”.
Andy’s Garden is designed for young children with autism, developmentally aged 3-7. Each game has a simple main goal and gives opportunities for exploration as well as cause-and-effect play. In Part 1 of the games, Andy and everything in the garden behave as usual. Part 2 and Part 3 present the same games, but these now include things that children are likely to find novel or surprising (e.g. changing the way that objects look and behave, changing sound effects, and adding new objects). A goal of the project has been to find out if these design elements can motivate children with autism to communicate with other people in a positive way. Based on previous research where children used a related technology (the ECHOES virtual environment), we believe that this strategy will be successful at motivating children’s communication. This project is at the “proof of concept” stage, testing this idea in a school setting with children who have a range of interests and abilities.
These games are being made available online “as is” so that anyone with an interest in the project can try the games themselves. Play the games for free on the GameSalad arcade here:
These games were devised and produced by Alyssa M. Alcorn (email@example.com), as a part of her PhD thesis at the University of Edinburgh, School of Informatics, supervised by Professor Helen Pain and Dr. Judith Good (University of Sussex). It is based on research from the ECHOES project (see www.echoes2.org).
For further information on the research basis of the project, instructions for users, and credits, view the PDF here: https://goo.gl/AP57GS. Please also feel free to contact Alyssa directly with feedback or for answers to specific questions!
with thanks to Alyssa Alcorn