As you may have seen on CBS News (above), researchers continue to find evidence that boys with autism are particularly vulnerable to addictive behaviors related to video game use.
Of course, parents and autism therapists have long noticed that many children and adults with autism become deeply engaged with video games. Indeed, many therapists and “app” makers design autism-friendly video activities around this tendency.
“While caution is appropriate, it’s important to remember that problematic behavior with video games may not look the same for a child who has autism compared to a typically developing child,” says Autism Speaks Senior Vice President for Scientific Affairs Andy Shih. “In other words, the standard definition of addictive behavior may not be as problematic for kids with autism.” Clearly researchers need to look more carefully at this issue, Dr. Shih says. “Video games can be useful for teaching social skills and other behaviors,” he adds. “But we need to be sure that technology use is balanced with experience in the real world.”