USC students create video game to help children with autism
In Social Clues, children play as one of two characters: ParticiPETE or communiKATE. In an effort to find their lost toys, they must then converse with characters in virtual depictions of real-world settings. Along the way, USC says, children will “learn the dos and don’ts of social interaction.”
In one scene, children must correctly identify the emotional state of a non-player character (NPC), while another asks users to drag an arrow until it aligns with another character’s eyes to teach children about the importance of making eye contact during conversation. A friendly parrot named Sherlock helps the children along the way.
“What we’re trying to do is break down everyday interactions into something very understandable, very manageable,” USC Marshall School of Business MBA student Jeremy Bernstein said in a news release. He worked on the game as its project lead, alongside his wife, Karen Okrent, who is a speech pathologist.