A Horrifying Autism Simulator

According the Center for Disease Control, 1 in 88 children are identified with a form of autism. It is almost fives times as likely in boys than in girls.

The CDC lists three types of ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders):

  • Autistic Disorder (also called “classic” autism)
    This is what most people think of when hearing the word “autism.” People with autistic disorder usually have significant language delays, social and communication challenges, and unusual behaviors and interests. Many people with autistic disorder also have intellectual disability.
  • Asperger Syndrome
    People with Asperger syndrome usually have some milder symptoms of autistic disorder. They might have social challenges and unusual behaviors and interests. However, they typically do not have problems with language or intellectual disability.
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified(PDD-NOS; also called “atypical autism”)
    People who meet some of the criteria for autistic disorder or Asperger syndrome, but not all, may be diagnosed with PDD-NOS. People with PDD-NOS usually have fewer and milder symptoms than those with autistic disorder. The symptoms might cause only social and communication challenges.

Using Technology: An Autism Simulation

However, knowing the basics about this increasingly diagnosed disease, and truly understanding what it’s like for the diagnosed child are two very different things, which is what makes this simulator interesting.

The software is an attempt to help people understand what it’s like to experience the hypersensitivity than can come with an ASD. How accurate is it? The sim creator explained “the reality of the situation though is that it is not possible to make this a 100% accurate simulation for everyone with autism, as there is a wide variation in how each person experiences hypersensitivity.” Either way, it is borderline horrifying, but it an interesting use of technology and software simulation to help crystallize for teachers and parents what it might feel like for some.

A trial version of the simulation itself can be accessed for free through the Unity browser player at their site.

The video can be seen here.