If you have a school-aged child, it’s highly likely that you’ve already heard of Minecraft, an interactive, online game that allows players to build and create textured cubes in a 3D, virtual world. Other activities include exploring, gathering, crafting and combat. To date, there are over 11 million players worldwide, with those numbers rapidly increasing by the day.
Because of a user’s ability to play Minecraft in a “multi-player” mode, those with autism can highly benefit from it by developing their communication and social skills, as well as enhancing their creativity at the same time.
These benefits have not been overlooked by Stuart Duncan (aka AutismFather), an autism advocate from Canada who is best known for his online advocacy through blogging and social networking sites. Duncan has even guest blogged on this site in the past.
Last month, Duncan launched AutCraft, a pet project that is the first Minecraft server dedicated to providing a safe, fun and learning environment for children on the autism spectrum and their families at no cost to them.
AutCraft is a members only group and each user must be “whitelisted” prior to playing. Since its launch a few weeks ago, nearly 500 players have already been added the AutCraft community.
Within the world of AutCraft, no swearing or bullying is allowed and the environment has been modified so no monsters will attack players. This means that users are free to adventure and explore anywhere they want, without the typical “dangers” that exist in the game’s regular modes.
My 11-year-old son with autism recently joined and has loved the ability to play and interact with others.
Due to the rapid growth of AutCraft, Duncan is already considering launching a second server. He has put in a considerable amount of time into this project and is providing a fantastic service for the autism community.
If you would like to have your child’s Minecraft user name whitelisted, visit http://www.AutCraft.com and click the ‘Sign Up’ button, then request an invite.
Because of the time, maintenance, management and server costs, Duncan is in need of sponsors that would be willing to assist him with growing this project. He has set up a donation tab on his site for those who would like to help.
In Autcraft, everyone is equal. There is no young or old, boy or girl, neurotypical or autistic – none of that matters. Everyone is there to learn, explore and have a great time.
Check it out — you and your family will be glad you did.