News

EASe helps kids with Autism with their games

Posted by: John at 12/1/2009 6:08 AM
Not a lot of people probably know that my son was diagnosed with Autism last December but he's been doing great with the different therapies we've put him through. As a gamer and a special needs parent, this story intrigues me on both realms since it deals with helping kids with Autism through 3D gaming.

EASe's Funhouse Treasure Hunt is a game designed to help cope with noise and improve sensory processing for kids with Autism. Now, my son has problems with areas of loud noises that makes him uncomfortable, which is due to his Autism. Funhouse Treasure Hunt is designed to be stimulating without being over stimulating. You control a tractor, which my son loves, in collecting treasures and listening to therapeutic music through six different playrooms.  It sounds interesting and I'm going to try the demo with my son to see how he reacts to it.

You can grab the demo here to try it. I'd be interested to see reactions from other parents of kids with Autism to know how this program does with their child.


JOPPA, MARYLAND – The new therapeutic PC game EASe Funhouse Treasure Hunt from Vision Audio Inc. uses 3-D game technology to help children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) learn to cope with noise and improve sensory processing.

Human beings experience the world through multiple senses -- sight, sound, touch, taste, smell and balance -- but children with an ASD have debilitating difficulties filtering and processing this continuous flow of information. They can be easily over stimulated by their environment. A touch may feel like a burn, lights may be blinding, sounds deafening, smells repugnant. Some children may appear deaf or develop perseverant behaviors like hand flapping. Others may have difficulty with proprioception and balance. These reactions are well known to parents of children on the autism spectrum.

Vision Audio has a long history of helping children on the autism spectrum. EASe (Electronic Auditory Stimulation effect) music CDs were the original disc-based listening therapy program, designed to stimulate, challenge and promote healthy sensory processing in children with an ASD. Tens of thousands of therapists have used them successfully since 1995.

Now, EASe games are the first high-quality 3-D PC video games designed as therapeutic teaching tools for children on the autism spectrum. Therapists have clinically tested EASe video games since 2007 with positive results.

“There is great value in the music, visual tracking, motor control and visual-vestibular input portion/components of the EASe program,” said therapist Wendy Aeling of Waconia, Minnesota. “The CD wraps so many good therapeutic qualities into one fun game. Kids love it and frequently ask to use it.”

EASe Funhouse Treasure Hunt is designed to stimulate, but not over-stimulate, a child who is challenged by sensory processing and organization.

“Our goal is to balance the child’s sensory experiences,” said Bill Mueller, president of Vision Audio in Joppa, Maryland. “Too much stimulation can result in fight-or-flight responses. Too little stimulation and we won't get past the child's existing sensory defense mechanisms."

"Over time, the sensory events in the virtual world of the EASe game will create a palette of experiences that help the child learn to cope with similar events in the real world. For example, a child can learn to associate crowd noise with a positive experience of playing a ball game. Bouncing around in the vehicles can teach them to manage their own visual orientation and balance in the real world."

EASe Funhouse Treasure Hunt is an exciting and nonviolent video game that reinforces organization and attention through stimulation of the auditory/vestibular/visual triad. The video game encourages the child to listen and follow verbal and on-screen directions to scan the environment and to collect letters, words, faces and object treasures.

In EASe Funhouse, the player controls a tiny toy tractor careening through a topsy-turvy toy land, collecting treasures and listening to EASe therapeutic music. The game is set in six virtual playrooms, each presenting unique challenges. One playroom has elevators and three vertical levels to explore. In another, the player looks down through mesh panels onto a spacious environment. The child always controls his or her movement through the virtual world.

The educational aspect of the game is simple and effective. A treasure is shown on the screen and the child is instructed to find and tag it in the 3-D world. Treasures include words, dot cards (quantity), images of human faces (male, female, happy, sad, laughing, frightened, etc.), colors and geometric shapes. Features such as ball games challenge a child’s hand/eye coordination and fine motor skills.

“EASe Funhouse is a teaching rather than a testing environment,” said Mueller. “The game encourages the child to follow directions, attend and focus, explore and learn, but they’re never tested on what they know or don’t know.”

Instead, teaching is presented as a simple gift of knowledge. A soothing voice says to "Find the six red dots." If the child tags a happy man instead, the voice says, "That is a happy man. Find the six red dots." Information is visually reinforced, creating a mental image map from which the child can recall, when later asked to find the "happy man."

EASe Funhouse Treasure Hunt is appropriate for children six and up, but younger children can benefit from sitting on a parent's lap, wearing headphones, while the parent drives.

A free demo of EASe Funhouse can be downloaded at www.easecd.com along with more information and research studies on EASe technology. Price is $39.00 plus $4 shipping and handling. Vision Audio Inc., (410) 679-1605, 611 Anchor Drive Joppa MD 21085.