Reddit, SWTOR and an Autistic Student Who Needed Help

With some students, it takes a teacher willing to go the extra mile to really reach them and help them. In a truly heart-warming story, we see just how far one teacher would go to try to connect with a new student.

When Lyobel got news of a new student with little time to prepare, we see how an entire Internet community came together to help via a video game and Reddit. BioWare, first to respond to the post, also sent some signed posters to the teacher and student. What a wonderful memory they will always have together!

This post on Reddit gives the full story:

Hoi! Some of you might remember me, if that is the case I congratulate you on excellent short-term memory!

I am, for those who don´t, a special education teacher, who got a new student dumped on me without much time to prepare. What I knew was that he is autistic, love star wars, is very hard to connect with, and really only talked to people via sw:tor. I made a post on reddit, asking to be allowed on peoples vents, to get a better impression and knowledge of the game. In a very short time, so many people offered all kinds of help, and I stalked vents all weekend, talked to so many awesome people, and met my student almost mastering the star wars lingo:) How that went the interested can read here: http://www.reddit.com/r/swtor/comments/uwgu8/to_the_brilliant_people_of_swtor_3_update_on_a/ I managed to delete the original post, so that is lost sadly>.>

The first comment on that post is from Bioware, and here is what they sent me: http://imgur.com/a/KmCux Sorry for completely crappy pictures, it was raining, so couldn´t take pic outside, and wanted to show it off as soon as I could! The third poster is very rare I am told:) I´m meeting my kid monday to give them away, the first pic in the album is for me, the other two for him:) He is gonna love them! I called today to set it up, and he is pretty much ecstatic! I still don´t know if I can keep him, but both my school and the parents are hoping that I can, and are working for it while I am on vacation:)

I got so much help from reddit, I would had a much harder time building a relation with him without you!

The impression you guys gave me of the community and game made me want to play too, so I am now a lowly little sage in the Jeddit guild, getting killed by sith-it sith´s in battlegrounds:) It is so much fun!

Thank you all for helping, so much! I sent chocolate to the few that dared give me their address, to the rest of you; so much love <3

 

Lyobel wanted to connect with an Autistic student in love with Star Wars who communicated almost exclusively through SWTOR.  Unfortunately, this teacher had no experience with SWTOR and Reddit users jumped in to help.

 

They allowed the teacher to listen in on their Ventrillo conversations as they played and enjoyed the game and this is what Lyobel used to connect with the student as explained in the follow-up.

 

The follow-up is truly phenomenal:

 

Hello!

Today was the day I met my new student, and after spending the weekend listening to raids and chatting to awesome people from reddit, I felt prepared, but a bit nervous. This was after all a kid who for the last six months hadn´t talked to anyone except over a computer, hadn´t left the room except for food and toilet for the same amount of time, and had kicked out / ignored the last teacher to enter his domain.. And sure enough, I enter, get a look, and the focus is back on the computer -^

But aha! He is pvp´ing! And by the looks of it, he is getting his ass kicked. “Get out of line of sight!” I shout, smoothly positioning myself next to him so I can see better. It looks slightly humorous while he runs around a rock, and when he dies I proclaim a masterful “stupid smugglers!”.

Now, I´m not entirely sure if it was a smuggler that killed him, but the ice is broken, and as he runs back for revenge he starts telling me about how long he played, why he is on the dark side, and how the server is pvp-wise.

Seriously! We didn´t shut up! When the pvp was over, he handed in a few quests, logged out, and focused on my tasks. I hadn´t brought much, to keep the first time short and sweet, but when that was done we talked about dogs, games, and made a plan for our next lesson. I managed to fall off my chair at one point, talented as I am, and he almost fell off his laughing :)

At the end of our lesson, as the gentleman I knew he would be, he walked me to the door (downstairs!) to say goodbye, and promising to be up and ready to go out on our adventure next time. We will visit a new game store that has opened:D

This is a huge step. It could not have gone better in any way shape or form. And the only reason it went that well is because of all you redditors jumping up, offering to help, and helping me out hugely. I could not have managed this without you <3

To all of you: Thank you so so so so much! Words fail me, so if you will pm your addresses I will send you chocolate. My country has seriously good chocolate. Must be the socialism ;)

Anyone with a child on the Autism spectrum can understand how difficult it can be to reach these kids. Video games are often something they are naturally attracted to and it can be a way for parents, teachers and caregivers to tap into that part of the child’s life and connect in other ways- as this teacher did.

While experts do recommend caution when allowing video games, they also agree that there are many benefits to them. It should be done in a positive way and as a way to connect with the child, not as a replacement for healthy inter-personal relationships.

Do you or someone you know have autism or Aspergers? Do you play video games?

More resources:

Video Games and Autism

In praise of video games for autism | Autism Support Network

Video games help autistic students in classrooms – USATODAY.com

The Autism Collaborative

Brains, Trains & Video Games (Living The Autism Life): Alicia Hart …

Video Games and Autism | TheLedger.com

 

 

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