Autistic Hazards

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Computer Games / Video Games: These tend to create the flow state in autistics as they easily understand the simplified score-based gaming environment in contrast to our uncertain and ambiguous reality. They often end up being addicted to these games instead of developing their intellect or social skills. However, educational games may be permissible.

 

Non-Educational TV: Lacking sufficient maturity, these children easily misunderstand the social interactions that they see. They may copy mannerisms, ways of speaking (such as vulgarities) and behaviors (such as hitting people). They may also become frightened or agitated by some of the scenes.

Internet Chatting: I have personally found this very addictive. In order to rid myself of this unproductive waste of time, I had to go "cold turkey".

Virtual Reality: The simplified social environments of virtual reality are potentially very addictive to autistics. Teachers and parents should supervise autistic children or teenagers who are new to the Internet until they are mature enough to avoid becoming addicted.

Unimaginative Toys: Toys with limited functionality (e.g. push this button then that happens), those who direct children's activities (e.g. follow these steps) and those who restrict unstructured input (e.g. fill in the blanks) hinder children's creativity. A good toy will continue to interest the child and create new possibilities for play.

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Autism Helpers

Encyclopedias: This will help them learn much general knowledge and find topics they are interested in. Unlike the Internet, encyclopedias provide appropriate, objective and higher quality material.

Books: Reading is a good pastime and it helps autistics pick up valuable formal language and writing skills. Supervision may be necessary to prevent autistics from misunderstanding certain works (e.g. realistic, fictitious or unwholesome material).

Protected Online Environments: Zackary's Playground is an example of child safe and autism friendly environments.

Constructive Games: Building Lego structures, constructing machines, laying pipes etc can provide much fun for future autistic engineers. Use traditional toys like rubber balls, simple building blocks, clay and crayons.

Programming: Computer programming provides great intellectual challenges while training autistics for a future lucrative career. A (childproof) computer with no Internet and games installed can help start the exploration process.

Introspection: It is great to encourage self-aware autistics to reflect about their lives, how they would like to live and contribute to the world.

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