Children affected by autism frequently struggle with a variety of executive functions. Clinical symptoms of autism have traditionally included problems in the areas of flexible thinking, self-control, and social awareness. However, in the newest “bible” of psychiatric diagnosis, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – Fifth Edition (DSM-V), other executive functioning concerns have been introduced.
For children who are now diagnosed with Level One Autism Spectrum Disorder (instead of Asperger’s or High-Functioning Autism from the past), the DSM-V describes underdeveloped organization and planning skills as hampering the independence of children impacted by autism. This suggests that by enhancing a child’s ability to collect and arrange items and to learn how to set goals, they’ll be less impaired by some of the repetitive and rigid behaviors that characterize autism.
The good news is that playing games such as Minecraft can be an excellent opportunity for developing both organization and planning skills. So, for parents who see their children struggling to find their homework or not being able to remember where they put their shin guards for soccer, Minecraft may be a good tool to help their children understand and practice organizational skills. For children who struggle when they have a long-term project or can’t seem to plan out a simple play date with their peers, Minecraft can also be an opportunity to practice setting goals and following step-by-step approaches to problem-solving.
As part of Autism Awareness Month, we’ve shared guides for using Minecraft to teach children impacted by autism key skills like Self-Control, Flexibility and Self-Awareness. Seeing as the DSM-V now lists planning and organization as potential areas of concern, parents may find our earlier Minecraft guides for those skills helpful, too.
Using Minecraft to Teach Executive Functioning: Planning & Organization
- Minecraft Projects for Kids: Bases, Organization & Inventory
- Minecraft Projects for Kids: Watchtowers, Planning and Navigation