People love sharing their stories of how video games have helped them overcome social adversity, anxiety, or other physical or mental health issues. Skylanders, the toy-collecting adventure game series from publisher Activision, recognizes this more than most. The publisher announced that it will be partnering with advocacy group Autism Speaks to release special figures in the coming months.
The move comes just in time for April, which is internationally recognized as Autism Awareness Month. This year, April 2 will be observed as World Autism Awareness Day. According to the Autism Speaks website, on April 2, supporters will “light up blue,” by wearing blue clothing – the color conventionally associated with autism awareness. In the spirit of the event, Activision has partnered with the group and will be releasing two new figures for its Skylanders SuperChargers. The special-edition figures will be blue and white in support of the initiative.
IGN noted that Activision has received correspondence from parents almost as far back as the game’s release praising the game for its ability to engage children with autism who may otherwise be unable to form social or emotional bonds on their own.
“The entire Skylanders team was deeply committed and proud to bring these special toys to life,” Josh Taub, senior vice president of Skylanders Product Management at Activision, told IGN.
Autism Speaks cited a recent report suggesting that autism spectrum disorder may be as prevalent as 1 in 45 children between ages 3 and 17, or some 2 percent of U.S. children.
The special figures will be available for purchase April 1.