News and HeadlinesWorking For You


Butler students create game to help kids with autism

Posted at 8:12 AM, Dec 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-12 08:12:13-05

INDIANAPOLIS — A group of Butler University students is working to make a computer game to help Hoosier children living with autism.

They are working with a non-profit that serves adults and children with intellectual and development disabilities.

"The game right now is in a beta format; its close to completion," said Matthew O'Hern, a sophomore at Butler University.

He and his classmates are working in partnership with Sycamore Services to make a video game for children and teens with autism.

"The dream situation is that this video game system can help kids develop social skills and understand social cues like if someone is smiling or different facial features and how they show emotion," said O'Hern.

During the game, the player has discussions with characters where they choose their response then the characters' facial expression will change based on that response with either a negative or positive reaction.

"They can then see the impacts of their words and choices on another human-like face and hopefully in real life be able to see those same expressions and identify them," said O'Hern.

"The goal here is to have an impact in the community," said Panos Linos.. the instructor of the course.

He said this project is a win-win for everyone involved.
"Our students receive academic credit, they learn a lot, and at the same time, they are helping a not-for-profit organization that usually doesn't have the resources to develop something like that. Something creative"

Before this class, O'Hern said he's never been around someone with autism, and he's glad now that he can help them in the best way he knows how.

"It's a great feeling something you created something you developed, and being able to actually have an impact there's nothing like it," said O'Hern.

You can learn more about the program these students are involved in here.