Role playing games (RPG) for social skill development?

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jsimon7777
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15 Jul 2012, 9:22 pm

I am a tutor and have several students with autism of some form or another. I recognized for one, a teenager, that role playing might be his thing, so I took him to play Dungeons and Dragons. He loves it with a passion, and afterwards, I noticed a dramatic difference in his behavior. He's still him, but he manages some social skills better. Would you, as a parent, be interested in having your child play a role playing game to develop social skills? It seems much more effective than the insignificant things changes I've seen from social groups. This isn't a sales speech. I'm just interested in opinions.



FalsettoTesla
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15 Jul 2012, 9:37 pm

jsimon7777 wrote:
I am a tutor and have several students with autism of some form or another. I recognized for one, a teenager, that role playing might be his thing, so I took him to play Dungeons and Dragons. He loves it with a passion, and afterwards, I noticed a dramatic difference in his behavior. He's still him, but he manages some social skills better. Would you, as a parent, be interested in having your child play a role playing game to develop social skills? It seems much more effective than the insignificant things changes I've seen from social groups. This isn't a sales speech. I'm just interested in opinions.


Wouldn't it make more sense to ask people on the spectrum if they would be interested in that, rather than the parents? I mean, they're the ones who are going to be doing it. It doesn't matter if the parents want that if the kids are fundamentally opposed.

Personally, I've found that playing the Sims (particularly 2 and 3) has made me understand the mechanics of social situations slightly better (although in a simplistic way).

But it sounds more like that person was guided to a special interest. Special interests decrease stress for a lot of people on the spectrum, which is a contributing factor to the upset felt when not allowed to participate in them.



Alphabetania
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15 Jul 2012, 9:58 pm

Corina Becker's mother was annoyed with her because she felt that RPGs were a good way of developing social skills but her mother wanted her to do church things instead! :o http://autismwomensnetwork.org/bio/corina-becker

It's easier to relax and learn social skills when you're doing something you like doing. And with RPGs, there's less of a risk of making a personal booboo when you're in character. It's the character's mistake then, not yours.

I have a number of adult aspie friends who take part in LARPs.


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jsimon7777
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15 Jul 2012, 10:09 pm

Alphabetania,
I pretty much agree. I'm not big on LARPing, personally, but it probably works for a lot of people. I think tabletop gaming is more approachable, especially for parents, and the turn-based nature forces everyone to interact.

FalsettoTesla,
I'm pretty sure a lot of kids would be interested, but the adults are the ones who pay for social groups and the like. I don't think all kids are into it, but spectrum kids tend towards geeky things, and Dungeons and Dragons is as geeky as it gets. The interesting thing is how his behavior changed outside of the game.



FalsettoTesla
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15 Jul 2012, 10:18 pm

jsimon7777 wrote:
FalsettoTesla,
I'm pretty sure a lot of kids would be interested, but the adults are the ones who pay for social groups and the like. I don't think all kids are into it, but spectrum kids tend towards geeky things, and Dungeons and Dragons is as geeky as it gets. The interesting thing is how his behavior changed outside of the game.


I don't necessarily think that it's people on the spectrum tend towards 'geeky things', rather that they're geeky about things.

It just irritates me when people go straight for the parents. I think the first port of call would be people on the spectrum.

But, I may just be overly snippy, I'm in a bad mood.



Valkyrie2012
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16 Jul 2012, 1:59 am

An aspie's paradise is a RPG called Second Life. I loved it even before I knew I was an aspie. You not only can make friends, be social and feel free to discover the personality that lives inside you that is hindered out in the real world.

Second Life has a teen (general) area and also a just for adults area.

I am all for RPG games - it did GREAT things for my life!



Wreck-Gar
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16 Jul 2012, 7:09 am

jsimon7777 wrote:
I am a tutor and have several students with autism of some form or another. I recognized for one, a teenager, that role playing might be his thing, so I took him to play Dungeons and Dragons. He loves it with a passion, and afterwards, I noticed a dramatic difference in his behavior. He's still him, but he manages some social skills better. Would you, as a parent, be interested in having your child play a role playing game to develop social skills? It seems much more effective than the insignificant things changes I've seen from social groups. This isn't a sales speech. I'm just interested in opinions.


It sounds to me like it worked for this particular student because he likes the game, not because the game in particular helped him. I, for one, have always gotten along better with people who have similar intersts.

I bet you could swap out "Dungeons and Dragons" with "tennis" or some other thing that happens to be an interest of a particular student and get a similar effect.

BTW guys this thread is not about video games, it's about the actual D&D game with books, dice, etc.

It's worth noting that I played this game a bit when I was younger and it did not help with social skills at all, it was just me and a friend playing it in his bedroom.



thewhitrbbit
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16 Jul 2012, 9:41 am

I read an interesting article that was saying Role playing games online where the new way to meet girls too. More girls are playing, and the challenges involve team work. Whereas a girl might do online dating once a week, or create a profile only to stroke her ego, if she's paying to play, she's invested in it.

You just have to be careful though. I know a guy who met a beautiful girl on WOW and they had a great relationship until he got a call from the Law because she had lied about being 19 and was actually 15 and sending nude pictures.

They did not charge him with anything because she admitted to lieing about her age.



piratecaptainloo
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16 Jul 2012, 10:28 am

I would love if my brother would try D&D. He'd much rather play a one player shoot 'um up game, which I'm NOT a fan of because then he runs around saying thing from gangster games which is actually sometimes an appropriate response to a question, just a strange way to say something... if that makes sense.

Basically, I'd be more supportive and encouraging of him to play a game like D&D rather than something where he is not interacting with (real) other people.



jsimon7777
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16 Jul 2012, 11:00 am

Falsetto,

I guess I'm getting everyone's feedback on here. Maybe it's the depth of interest that makes people geeky. One kid loves animals to a ridiculous degree. Loving animals isn't geek, but memorizing species certainly is. It makes me wonder what he would do with a DnD bestiary.

Like I said, I go to parents because they're the ones who pay. The kids already seem into it.

Valkyrie,

2nd life is a weird and often perverted place from what I've seen. Not where I'd send my kids. Real life is where the skills need to develop. There is a huge difference between just focusing on typed words and having to deal with a group of people in a real-world conversation.

As for making people feel connected to others, online games can be fantastic, but face-to-face interaction has always been the culmination of any online friendship I've ever had.

Wreck,

You're the second person to say that it's for a particular student. Yes, you and a friend in a bedroom probably won't help skills. Four kids and an adult GM who focuses on certain social skills while playing, like turn taking, fun table talk, and and making group-focused decisions (DnD has characters that just help others) should help with development. Tennis gives the group dynamic, but much time is spent on the court in a non-social way, and the focus isn't on social skills.

White Rabbit,

I'm not looking to get teens into dating. I don't think DnD is the path for that, and parents certainly aren't interested. Girls on the spectrum naturally get interest from boys, just because they're girls. They need to be protected from predators, but so do all girls. Being a teen boy probably sucks, but it also does for most males. As adults, men on the spectrum have an easier time because so many woman find the honesty and straightforwardness attractive after dealing with lying and crap from other men.

Pirate,

Yikes. Makes sense.

Everybody,

I think of being on the spectrum largely as a matter of social processing difficulty, often mixed in with other processing difficulties, especially language ones. Even "spectrum" seems inaccurate since it implies a straight line. It's more like a zone. Just giving social directions, like in social groups, doesn't always work because students generally have limited motivation in those situations, just like all students generally have limited motivation. Give them a charismatic, attractive teacher and their learning will probably increase because all students pay more attention to charismatic, attractive teachers. Give them a fun situation where the rules of the fun are integrated into skill learning, and their motivation and attention will skyrocket, leading to better and better skills. In other words, learning is learning in all its complexity, just like it is for everybody.

Rant off.



FalsettoTesla
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16 Jul 2012, 12:09 pm

jsimon7777 wrote:
Even "spectrum" seems inaccurate since it implies a straight line.


I never thought that. Spectrum makes me think of light spectrum, which makes me think more of a wave pattern than a straight line. You know, with comorbids and situations creating interference patterns, so it's kind of like Image that in my head, with different collision points being different points on the spectrum.

But I think that may just be me.



thewhitrbbit
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16 Jul 2012, 12:48 pm

I wasn't suggesting using it for dating, I was just highlighting the article discussing how it can be a tool for making friends.



jsimon7777
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16 Jul 2012, 1:34 pm

FalsettoTesla,

Interesting. That makes me think of the double-slit experiment, where you get distinct locations of light. :) It's the battle of taking metaphors too far.

thewhitrbbit,

I understand.



ASDMommyASDKid
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16 Jul 2012, 2:26 pm

Are you asking if parents would pay to send their kids to an AD&D social skills group? Is that why you are interested in asking parents.

I would love my son to play AD&D because that is the kind of "nerd" I am, and I could help him with it even though I am more of the AD&D RPG computer game type. I do not think I would pay to send him to a social skills group for this. it is one of those things that we will probably introduce at home and if he likes it, then see if he can find other kids locally to play with.

I don't think it is necessarily a bad idea. I just don't think I would do it in the way I think you mean. I also don't know how many parents are excited about AD&D. Back in the day, I think there was an uproar with parents about some of the themes, which they have subsequently toned down, I think. I don't know what the contemporary view is among parents today. especially those who don't have a personal knowledge of it.



Valkyrie2012
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16 Jul 2012, 2:43 pm

lol it just shows how LITTLE you understand about aspergers and autism. You may think you understand for observing the kids you help - but just by your interaction here it is clear you don't.

You want to judge second life - but it IS second life that changed my life and took suicide from loneliness and social isolation OFF the table of options for me.

Focusing on typed words??????? Typed words ARE THE ONLY way I can communicate with little issues! Even NONVERBAL auties have a life because of texting and internet and a world of WRITING! Learning to socialize through the internet is how I came to SURVIVE my job in customer service! I LEARNED SOCIAL RULES THROUGH TYPED TEXT!

So don't bash something you obviously know nothing about!

As I said before there IS a teen area, and an ADULT "perverted" permissible area. Though perverted is not the word I would use. It is called openmindedness and acceptance of what makes different people tick.

Here is a great story by ABC News just how stunned scientists are about HOW MUCH second life helped people with Aspergers:

Quoted:
"Experts in the field, however, are unsure about the potential effectiveness of such a program, saying that using virtual interaction could become so comfortable to patients who are already socially awkward, they might never move beyond it. "

(and this was near the case for me)

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/OnCall ... ARqzfVwMrA

You obviously - have pushed my buttons.

**edit**

Oh - I forgot your last words.

Rant off.



Last edited by Valkyrie2012 on 16 Jul 2012, 3:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.