Several recent news items tell of new resources for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). From entertainment to health care to advocacy, these three articles offer something positive for families and caregivers. This is a welcome trend, with reports indicating a rise in prevalence of children diagnosed with ASD, as well as growing concerns about young adults with ASD finding jobs and learning life skills.
Video games. Experiences enjoyed by most children can overwhelm those on the spectrum. Now—along with theme parks including quiet rooms, airlines offering programs to help prepare children for travel, retailers offering autism-friendly shopping days and museums giving tours for children with special needs—the popular video game Minecraft has a version for children with ASD.
The game even finds its way into classrooms, used by some educators to teach math or spatial skills. According to a story on “The Mighty,” Stuart Duncan created an autism-friendly version of the game called Autcraft. Duncan, who is the spectrum, noticed his son with ASD getting bullied when playing the online version, so he used his web development skills to create a safe place for people to play.
Advocacy for people with severe ASD. Many of the resources and programs for people with ASD focus on the high-functioning end of the spectrum. A new organization focuses on young adults with more severe versions. Amy Lutz, a co-founder and mother of a child with nonverbal autism, wrote in Psychology Today that the National Council on Severe Autism will advocate for services to help her son and others who need full-time care.
Insurance. In Virginia, lawmakers finally came to an agreement on funding a bill to extend insurance coverage for children with autism, according to a story in The Washington Post. The bill lifts an age cap on covered treatment, which is currently set at 10 years old.