Gamifying interventions for autism?
Also inside: Can virtual reality teaching safety skills? and Eagles Autism Challenge ... 
OCTOBER 12, 2017
Can video games and virtual reality help children improve symptoms of autism?
In this Issue: Gaming Gains?  

From Fitbit® to Apple Watches® and smart phone apps that promise to boost brain power, the trend toward the "gamification" of health and learning has exploded in recent years.   The  Wall Street Journal recently published an article on this trend , and the push to design game-based interventions that are backed by scientific evidence. 

CAR has several studies underway to explore how video games, biofeedback, and virtual reality can help children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) manage their symptoms, including attention problems, anxiety, and to practice social skills.

"Using technological advances in gaming for research not only gives scientists new ways to test interventions and collect detailed data over time,"  says CAR's Scientific Director,  Robert Schultz, PhD , "but has the potential to provide effective, affordable treatments to children no matter where they live. We hope that our interventions will be among the first to be awarded FDA approval for improving some of the common social and behavioral challenges of ASD." 

Each article in this issue of Dispatch details a different CAR gaming study. Read on to learn more, and maybe even consider participating!
Dr. Joseph McCleery (left) and
Dr. Julia Parish-Morris (right) are testing a virtual reality intervention for autism
Using Virtual Reality to Teach Crucial Community Safety Skills  

As children with autism grow older, parents often worry about their safety as they become more independent. Partnering with Floreo, Inc, CAR researchers Dr. McCleery and Dr. Parish-Morris have set out to determine if children can learn skills need to navigate critical interactions through the use of virtual reality based intervention. 

CAR's lead investigator, Dr. Benjamin Yerys, for Project EVO 
A Prescription for Gaming to Treat ADHD?

Relatively few children with both an autism and ADHD diagnosis respond well to medication to treat symptoms of ADHD. CAR researcher, Dr. Benjamin Yerys, is partnering with Akili Interactive Labs to test a video game they hope could help children with ASD improve their attention skills. This gaming intervention
which could  be the first to be approved for medical use by the FDA .
Read more about Project EVO & Dr. Yerys' research
Dr. John Herrington is leading a CAR study combining gaming with biofeedback.
Combining Gaming + Biofeedback to Help Children with Autism Improve Social Skills

Can children with a combined diagnosis of ASD and anxiety learn to improve their skills in making eye contact and regulating emotions by playing a video game?  CAR researcher Dr. John Herrington, partnering with BioStream Technologies, is the lead investigator for a study using biosensors to detect symptoms of anxiety in children as they play a 3D video game aimed at improving their social interaction skills.
Are You Up for the Challenge? 

Saturday, May 19th, join the Philadelphia Eagles players, alumni, coaches, executives, cheerleaders and SWOOP for the inaugural  Eagles Autism Challenge

This one-day bike ride and family-friendly 5K run/walk will raise funds for innovative autism research and programs at CHOP, Drexel University, and Thomas Jefferson University. 
Upcoming Workshops & Events

Thursday October 26, 9am- 4pm

Saturday, November 18,  9am  -  4pm

Wednesday November 29, 9am- 4pm
boy w. magnifying glass
You Can Help Us Learn More about ASD!

Advances in understanding autism and related disorders are only possible as a direct result of the participation of individuals and families. We have opportunities for all ages, and you do not need an autism diagnosis to participate.

Simply put - scientists cannot make real progress without your help. We need you!
Learn about current studies 

Get Up to Speed  on  CAR News & Upcoming Events!


The Center for Autism Research | Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
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