Mcgarrybowen Greater China has announced the creation of The Critical Core project, a tabletop role-playing game designed to help children on the autism spectrum develop essential social skills and build confidence.
Designed under the guidance of therapists the launch coincides with Autism Awareness Month, held in the month following World Autism Awareness Day on April 2nd. The game fills a gap for teenagers and young adults on the autism spectrum, who are often left out of interventions aimed towards younger children.
Development began three years ago when the agency partnered with Seattle non-profit (and therapeutic gaming group specialists) Game To Grow, the Interdisciplinary Council for Developmental Learning, and Virginia Spielmann – Executive Director of The Star Institute for Sensory Processing Disorder.
Globally, 1 out of every 59 children is estimated to be on the autism spectrum and in recent years, numerous studies have linked playing roleplaying games (such as Dungeons & Dragons) to positive growth in autistic individuals. Games like The Critical Core serve as inclusive, low-cost solutions that allow parents to be part of the development process, compared to expensive 1:1 therapy sessions that often focus on compliance and normalisation behaviour therapy.
A Kickstarter for the game was launched on March 19th, 2019 and has already smashed its funding target by 300%, with more than $150,000 USD collected from over 1,875 backers across the globe to date. The Kickstarter is still looking for contributions until it closes on April 25th, 2019.
The massive surge in popularity for roleplaying games has drawn attention to the positive aspects of the hobby and its community, with the 5th Edition D&D handbooks being a regular fixture on the New York Times’ bestseller lists. Recently, YouTube live-play sensation Critical Role” broke crowdfunding records by raising HK$ 71,511,550 to produce an animated special based on the exploits of its player characters.