SSRI Grant Funding to Study Video Gaming Interests of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Congratulations to Erinn Finke, Benjamin Hickerson, Michael Murray and Rick Kubina on their newly awarded Social Sciences Research Institute (SSRI) Level I grant! This project brings together a multidisciplinary team including faculty across three colleges including the College of Health and Human Development (Finke & Hickerson), the College of Education (Kubina), and the College of Medicine (Murray).

The project focuses on understanding how activities that are motivating and appealing to school-age children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, or ASDs — including children with ASD who use AAC — can inform new and potentially more effective practices for teaching language and academic skills.  In particular, many children on the autism spectrum appear to enjoy playing video games (Mazurek, Shattuck, Wagner & Cooper, 2011), but the scientific literature has not addressed why the video games are attractive or how the children choose the video games they play. Learning about video gaming activities children with ASD are drawn to and motivated by will be used to suggest directions for how instructional activities can also be structured to be highly engaging.

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