Escape Rooms and Autism
There are around 700,000 people on the autism spectrum living in the UK and if you take into consideration their family and friends, autism is a part of daily life for 2.8 million people in the UK. Families and friends who have autism as part of their lives, are always looking for unique and fun ways to engage and have fun – especially in ways that put their autistic friend at ease.
If you have children, teenagers or friends with autism, you may be worried about finding suitable activities for them when you’re planning parties or events. It can be a daunting prospect, but escape rooms are actually a wonderful choice.
Escape rooms are built on puzzles, problem solving and methodology, and these are all things that people with autism generally have an interest in and enjoy participating in.
A CLOSER LOOK AT ESCAPE ROOMS AND AUTISM
People with autism, especially children and teenagers, often find it difficult to initiate and maintain conversations. They can also find it difficult to interpret verbal and non-verbal communication, which can lead to them misunderstanding other people’s intentions, and to interact spontaneously with their peers, which can make it difficult for them to make friends. For these reasons, various interventions that improve and train social skills are developed for people with autism.
According to a 2021 study led by Gijs Terlouw of the NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences, Leeuwarden, Netherlands, escape games and escape rooms can offer a fun experienced based on interactions and relationships. Those interactions and relationships can support people with autism in forming friendships and finding greater acceptance among their peers.
Activity-based interventions provide a structure and a focal point that can encourage interactions to unfold in natural ways, making these interventions better than those that are instruction-based. One of the reasons for this is that mutually enjoyed activities that draw on similar interests are a more appropriate way for people with autism to connect with their peers. Gaming lends itself to this approach.
According to the study, many children with autism have an affinity toward digital technologies. One of the reasons for this is those technologies’ linearity and discreteness. Unlike instruction-based interventions, games, especially video games, have various features that facilitate, motivate, personalise, and trigger learning. They also offer a safe space in which children with autism can practise complex skills while receiving consistent and immediate feedback.
ESCAPE GAMES: ACTIVITY-BASED EXPERIENCES
In escape rooms and VR escape games, participants are placed in a scenario in which they must find clues and solve puzzles to reach a specific goal within a set time. This requires teamwork and collaboration, so it’s not surprising that, since their 2007 debut in Japan, escape games have been used for learning-related purposes.
The gaming element of, and the cooperation required by, escape rooms and games make them a suitable informal activity-based experience for people with autism to learn and enhance social behaviour and collaboration with others. Escape games provide a setting for players with autism to emerge and to communicate with their peers, allowing interactions to happen naturally. By engaging in fun experiences that stimulate interactions and relationships, people with autism may find it easier to form friendships and find greater acceptance among their peers.
Let’s explore a few ways Omescape’s escape room and VR escape games can encourage people with autism.
Here are some ways escape rooms can encourage people with autism:
Logic and problem solving
Escape rooms can encourage us to use our brains in new and different ways – challenging us to practise new ways of thinking. This can be great for people with autism, as they may find that their way of thinking is the key to success, and they may be able to help the team think about things differently.
Working in a team is an important skill, and it can be a great opportunity for autistic people to practise their teamwork within a fun and engaging scenario.
The sense of accomplishment when you complete an escape room is second to none, and everyone in the group will enjoy being part of it. For people with autism, this can be a great feeling to enjoy with all their family and friends, especially if they helped solve the puzzles and clues.
Here at Omescape we have a variety of escape room concepts and themes, so there’s a choice suitable for everyone.
If you have any questions about which Omescape escape room would be most suitable to your friend or family member with autism, feel free to get in touch with us to discuss their interests and what we would recommend.