An image of a board game with a red, blue and yellow miniature characters
Photo by Christopher Paul High on Unsplash

Psychology experts at Edge Hill University have released a new review exploring how game-based teaching can help to improve outcomes for people with autism.

Researchers Dr Liam Cross and Dr Gray Atherton, who are both Psychology lecturers, have studied how the use of games can develop social-communicative, cognitive, learning and physical skills in autistic people.

The review aims to identify the way that autism-friendly games are played and the effect that certain games have on autistic people.

Conducted in partnership with GameinLab and Innovation Factory, the review was released as part of the Autism and New Technologies programme supported by the UEFA Foundation for Children and implemented by the French Institute of Applied Disability Research (FIRAH).

Dr Liam Cross’ research is in embodied and social cognition, focusing on the social consequences of coordination and how moving in time with each other in rhythmic ways can influence behaviour.

Dr Cross said: “This review is aimed at practitioners and teachers who wish to learn more about the use of gamification in autism interventions. It will especially be of interest to those who work with autistic clients, special educators and families of children with autism.”

Dr Gray Atherton’s research is centred around understanding how people with autism see the social world, specifically exploring individual differences in social processing and how these differences often found in people with autism also exist in the general population.

Dr Atherton said: “For those who are interested in introducing gaming to autistic people and would like guidance on strategies for teaching gameplay skills, we hope this review will provide some new insights into the effect that games can have on autistic people and their development.”

The full review can be found on the FIRAH website.

Edge Hill’s Department of Psychology is proud to offer a range of BSc degrees that are accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) and cover everything from sport and exercise to education and criminology.