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AutCraft – The not so little Minecraft project for autistics and their families

Fireworks show we put on for the 4th of July

Fireworks show we put on for the 4th of July

My blog hasn’t been updated in a while and that’s because I’ve been busy. Busy like always but even busier than that. A little over 2 weeks ago, I decided to open the doors on a pet project that I call AutCraft and I’ve done very little of anything else since.

Minecraft has proven very beneficial for people with autism as it provides the open world, no stress, creative and imaginative sandbox space that they can thrive in. Do as much or as little as you want. Explore, adventure, fight monsters, fight each other, do technical work, build magnificent buildings… it’s entirely up to you.

The one area that it’s struggled, however, is in it’s social game play. Minecraft servers are everywhere but they’re largely left free. That is to say, they let players do as they please. And rightly so really, considering Minecraft is a sandbox, a free to do as you please type of game. But that environment isn’t great for those that may struggle socially.

This is where I thought I could help. I created a server where bullies are not tolerated and monsters are kept at a distance so as to not scare the younger ones and player vs player damage is turned off. More so than that, each player gets their houses/bases/stores/etc protected so that no one can build, break or take anything within that zone except for the person that owns it.

The main thing? It’s a white list server which means that only those people that I approve can access it. It’s not open to just anyone.

I thought I’d start opening day slow by sharing with just my friends list rather than my fan pages or twitter followers. Here’s some numbers for that slow start:

In the first 2 days, I received over 700 emails. Within 2 weeks, I had 500 players on the list. I had upgraded the server from package #1 to package #8 in it’s first 8 days. I found 3 blog posts about it and the fan page had gained 700 likes with a ton of praise and approval from parents. On the first night, after I put my boys to bed, I sat down to 126 unread emails, replied to 82 of them and still had 94 unread emails left.

Good thing I started small right?

I knew this server was a good idea from the start, giving people a safe and fun environment but I had no idea just how much it would benefit the players and their families. Here are just a few of the responses I’ve received:

I can’t begin to tell you how much this means to us…. today I picked my son up from his AS camp and we started talking. He said he couldn’t wait to get home to play on the site….he was quiet for a bit then said ” Mom, I’ m glad I have Aspergers…otherwise I couldn’t have played on the new server”. THANK YOU… for years he has HATED he is different.. .and now he is happy with who he is. Bless you

I don’t mean to inundate you with our gratitude, but I had to share this: Today, we sat in the waiting room for speech therapy. When it ended, my son, my daughter, and a friend’s son (who recently joined Autcraft) had the most passionate extended conversation. All about Autcraft. They talked, listened, asked questions, and offered advice. No one who didn’t know them would have ever guessed that these kids had any social skill problems.
The SLPs looked on fondly. They smiled, no doubt thinking that all their hard work and therapy was paying off. What they don’t know about is all the hard work that YOU have put in that made this awesome conversation possible.
And there are plans for a Minecraft play date soon. Thank you for giving these kids something to talk about and bond over, somewhere to belong and be accepted, and a pastime that has provided hours of entertainment, and even some learning. I really appreciate it.

I wanted to say, my son is loving Autcraft. Another child gave him gifts today and he was shocked. A little while later he said to me, “I didn’t really want to, but I gave some gifts away to others. It makes me want to give things to people.” It is a new thing for him to want to share. He also has spent a lot of time on it exploring and building. Thank you so much for this experience.

My son just got invited and went on and immediately introduced himself with his real name. He happily explored before school and was thrilled that “a new friend” gave him diamonds to get started. I’m so grateful you made this safe place for them. Thank you so much!

I like that my son is not worried about being “Cool”. He gets very excited about the things he likes, and doesn’t feel self-conscious when trying to talk to other people about them. To me, THAT’S Cool.

Thank you for creating this wonderful, wonderful world!! My boys are so excited every time they play, and are constantly amazed at how kind the other players are :))))))

I hope you’re able to get sponsors to continue to grow. The Autism community needs this. I’m already seeing improvement with my kids social skills, reading and typing.

So where have I been if not updating my blog lately? Well, mostly work… sadly. I still have my 9-5 job but now I also try to be on the AutCraft server as much as I can to be with these great kids and families. They’re doing such great work and learning so much and building so fast.

I hate missing a single minute of it.

Right now, I’m looking for sponsors/supports that are willing to pick this up and back it financially. I’d be proud to put “AutCraft sponsored by” or “brought to you by” and then a charity’s or company’s name after if it means that I can be in game where I’m needed most. They do so great without me but even better when I’m there. We go on adventures, I take them out to find places to build… we just have so much fun.

So if you get a chance, check out http://www.autcraft.com and see what I’ve been up to!

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How to Maximize Learning in Autistic Children?

Children with autism usually have difficulties in learning because of the impairment in their social communication and interaction with others. Moreover, the repetitive tasks and restrictive behaviors and interests also prevent them to integrate to the learning process. Children with autism are best described as children having their own world” so allowing them to learn in a conventional way will not be effective.

learning in autistic children

Parents of autistic children will do the best way they can and try all possible things just to help their children learn. Parents would usually seek help from experts on autism regarding the treatment of their child. If your one of those who has an autistic children or just a concerned individual wanting to help children with autism, here are the following tips to maximize learning in autism:

Seek early intervention

The first thing that autistic children need is early intervention. Autism usually can be observed even during infancy. Parents need to monitor the growth and development of their child to identify possible delays in the language and social development of the child. The earlier the diagnosis will be, the earlier the interventions are, which significantly dictates the outcome of the treatments. Before the age of 3, children with autism require one-on-one therapy in order to improve behavior, language, self-help and social skills of children.

Expose the child to different social settings

An autistic child should never be confined at home because this will just limit their worlds to the home. Children with autism need exposure to the community, school and other social settings to maximize environmental effects to learning. Through social exposures, autistic children will be able to adapt in some way with the presence of other people.

Seek speech therapy

Autistic children will eventually develop language difficulties, which prevent them in dealing with other people. In this line, speech therapy will help children adapt to social interactions although they really do not develop the learning and language abilities of average children.

Undertake auditory integration therapy

Auditory integration therapy is a means by which autistic children are exposed to sounds in order to reduce sensitivity to sound frequencies. Autistic children are usually sensitive to various sounds, which prevents them from their learning. Auditory integration therapy also involves music therapy to enhance and stimulate communication abilities. Parents can employ music therapy even at home such as playing neutral and soft melodies to help children to be calmer.

Special Education

Autistic children also require special education rather than having them in regular schools. Special education caters to the specific needs of autistic children and also improves the mechanism by which children adapt to learning. Special education does not focus on teaching children the basic reading, writing and arithmetic skills, but focuses on improving the social interaction, language development and behavioral modifications. In order to maximize learning in school, parents should choose carefully the school that will provide the best education to their autistic children. For maximizing learning, the author recommends ABC mouse which features books, songs, games, puzzles, art activities and even printables. Read ABCmouse Review to more about it.

Life skills education

Eventually, autistic children will be left on their own especially when their parents will eventually age. In this line, life skills education is also essential to help children go about with the everyday tasks such as self-care and feeding.

Aside from these learning techniques for autistic children, they need unending love and guidance more than anything else. Autistic children who are loved and guided appropriately by their caregivers are able to adapt more and learn more. Those who seek love and attention most often experience deterioration in their cognitive functioning that will eventually make learning more difficult.

Guest Author Bio

Dr. Amarendra, the author writes for www.ordersciencebooks.com which contains Naturepedic Promo codes. Naturepedic provide natural, non-toxic, waterproof, and organic crib mattress and bedding products that are safer and healthier sleeping materials for infants and children.

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