Auti-Sim is a digital game that helps people without autism experience the struggles of the disorder.
One of the main reasons that there is a lack of awareness for problems like social, mental, and psychological disorders is an inability to empathize. For someone without one of these disorders, they can have a difficult time putting themselves in someone else’s shoes to understand what they’re going through. How do you ‘imagine’ what having hypersensitivity disorder would be like?
You couldn’t. Until now.
Created during the Vancouver Hacking Health hackathon, which aims to solve meaningful problems with technology, the ‘Auti-Sim’ game is designed to place users in the shoes of an autistic child to better understand their struggles.
The simulation allows users to navigate a playground setting, all the while exposing them to conditions that a child with autism or hypersensitivity disorder would experience. The closer users move towards other children, the blurrier vision becomes and the louder echoes and screams ring out as the situation becomes increasingly overwhelming. By moving to quieter areas on the playground, the situation becomes less stressful, which helps explain how autism can lead to isolation and dissociation.
Taylan Kadayifcioglu, one of three team members working on Auti-Sim, says the team wanted to raise awareness to ‘how an ordinary, everyday environment could pose significant challenges’ to someone with autism.
The simulation, a demo of which can be seen in the video below, has received somewhat mixed reviews from the autistic community. Some have thanked Taylan and his team for helping show what life is like for them, while others have pointed out that the simulation only offers an narrow insight into some of the symptoms associated with autism. Because autism has a wide spectrum of ways in which it can manifest, it is difficult to create a scenario in which all possible experiences are covered.
However, Auti-Sim, if further developed, could eventually become a good learning tool for professionals trying to spread awareness and increase understanding among autistic children’s parents, siblings, or classmates.
Check out the simulation below, and experience just how overwhelming and disorienting the situation can be:
Images via YouTube