UW-Madison News: Video game research shows promise for autism

Contact: Brittany Travers, (608) 263-0282, [email protected]

MADISON – At the age of 9, Xavier Hansen already has it figured out. Someday, he is going to be the boss.

“He has great aspirations to make things,” says his mom, Gail. “His goals are to own a movie theater. He wants to be in charge. If he wants something, he’ll find a way to get it.”

Xavier has big brown eyes and freckles to match. He likes Pokémon and Nintendo and giving enthusiastic high-fives. He is a take-charge kid with sandy blonde hair and boundless energy. Xavier is also on the autism spectrum, diagnosed when he was 3½.

Today, Xavier and Gail are at the Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where Brittany Travers, professor in the occupational therapy program in the Department of Kinesiology, is studying kids with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to learn more about how helping kids improve their motor skills may have a positive impact on their symptoms.

Travers has a lot of big questions about autism, and many of them have to do with the brain.

Xavier participated in one of Travers’ studies in 2015 and he was at the Waisman Center on this day to demonstrate what that entailed. As it turns out, it meant lots and lots of video games.

Read more at http://news.wisc.edu/video-game-research-shows-promise-for-autism/