How Kinect Got an Autistic Kid Gaming

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GamingNexus editor John Yan has a four-year-old son with a mild form of autism. The little guy's tried to play 360 and PS3 but has trouble getting a hold on the controllers. With Kinect, though, he was an instant pro.

In a heartwarming post entitled "I think Kinect is OK, but it's the best $150 I spent on a console," Yan recounts his son's experience with Kinect. Basically, with just a little instruction, he was able to navigate menus and play games without any trouble:

What proceeded to happen was pretty amazing to me. Firing up Kinect Adventures, we tried out Rally Ball as our first game to play together. He jumped around and flailed his arms and legs in trying to punch the balls back to the blocks. It was pretty cool to see but the thing that really threw me for a loop was when the game ended. The game made my son the primary controller and seeing as I didn't explain anything to him on how it works, I was ready to tell him to step out so I can go in and navigate through the menus.

But, I decided to see if he could follow my directions and interact with the menus. I said hold out your hand and place it on the button. Without any hesitation, he put his hand up and moved it over the button on the screen and held it there until the circle animation finished, indicating the button has been pressed. After that initial coaching, he proceeded to move around in the menus without much vocal cues from me. I just stood there and was flabbergasted by what I just saw. Microsoft's design team did such a good job at creating a user interface with Kinect that my son was able to go through each menu to initiate the next round in Rally Ball. It's intuitive enough that I spent barely any time teaching my four year old special needs son how to go about the menu system.


Even though Yan himself hasn't found Kinect's games especially compelling, he's quickly seen how Kinect will let him and his son game together in a way they've never been able to before. Read the full story over at GamingNexus. [Gaming Nexus via Fidgit]