Children with autism or ADHD may game twice as much

Research finds they also prefer different kinds of games, does not draw conclusions on causality.

NPR reports on a new study that finds children who display symptoms of autism or ADHD are more likely to play games, with different habits and preferences than children without these symptoms.

The research comes from the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurological Disorders, from the University of Minnesota. Respondents were boys aged 8 to 18, 56 of whom had autism spectrum disorder, 44 had ADHD and 41 typically developing children.

Among their findings, researchers found boys with autism or ADHD played an average of two hours a day compared to one hour a day for normal children. They were also more likely to pick action games or RPGs over sports games or FPS games. Researchers speculate the fast pace of action and violence in first person shooters is too much for children with autism or ADHD can handle.

The researchers conclude that their study is not enough to determine if video games could be pointed to as a symptom for neurological disorders, or if children with these disorders are naturally drawn to these games as a natural consequence, and further research is needed.

Another child growth and development expert, Dana Levy of NYU Child Study Center, found that the research results were not so surprising, and generally fall in line in what many experts already know from firsthand long-term treatment of children with ADHD and autism. In general, video games can attention, and with typically developing children as it is with children with autism or ADHD, there are no known ill effects for playing video games. Levy generally cautions that parents control potential addiction with games by limiting use, but not witholding it altogether.

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