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Auti-Sim
March 1, 2013 10:22 AM   Subscribe

Auti-Sim is a Unity Web Player game that simulates the experience of childhood autism (warning: loud sound).

(via Rock, Paper, Shotgun)
posted by Elementary Penguin (16 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
I think you accidentally linked to the "Been awake for 138 hours on a meth binge" simulator.
posted by item at 10:27 AM on March 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


As the parent of a seven-year-old autistic girl, I wish I could try this out, but apparently Unity isn't compatible with my system.

But for those about to try it out, I just want to say that (and likely very many of you are already aware of this) autism is a spectrum disorder; no two people with autism exhibit the same characteristics nor experience the same symptoms, nor to the same degree. My daughter does have sensory sensitivity to sound, though, and the game was pretty accurate in terms of how she typically responds - getting the hell away.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:36 AM on March 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


How common is auditory hypersensitivity in autistic children?

This bug is awesome, BTW:

Granted, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the illusion’s very breakable. One time, I hopped on the merry-go-’round, and it flung me clear out of the playground and into a nearby endless plain of nothingness. It was, er, very quiet there as well.
posted by ignignokt at 10:39 AM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


We live / work next door to the neighborhood swimming pool. In Southern California even winter is fair game, so I hear this exact sound from dawn until 10pm, every day, all year. Next time they get really rowdy (today???) I think I'm going to point a loudspeaker out my window and play this with the volume cranked.

...Ugh just having that thought is terrifying, I'm getting oooooolllld
posted by jake at 10:49 AM on March 1, 2013


I think this is a pretty cool tool to teach folks what the experience of autism is like for some kids, but as Marisa Stole the Precious Thing points out, no two kids experience it in the exact same way. But I'd rather have this simulator available than have nothing.

I don't think this is how my 7-year-old autistic daughter experiences the world. It might be useful to have a sensitivity slider so that the effect can be heightened or toned down. That might also help folks better understand the "spectrum" piece of this.

Now that I think about it, perhaps several sliders would be useful. One to adjust sensory sensitivity, maybe another one to adjust impulse control, and maybe another to adjust ability to concentrate or focus.
posted by Toekneesan at 10:50 AM on March 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


Hey, look, it's what's my head, on the screen, with the overdrive audio, and the visuals breaking up when there are too many people around, and why won't they just fucking shut uppppp.

I won the game, though, at least I think I did, because I was able to find a quiet area under a tree where I could keep an eye on everyone else, they were staying away from me, and their horrible mouth sounds were just a distant rustling sound like the crackling flames of a house on fire as one runs away from it.
posted by seanmpuckett at 10:54 AM on March 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think it would have been more helpful if the game makers had described it as a simulation of sensory sensitivity--which can be one aspect of autism. I like Toekneesan's slider idea.

However, I do think this would be a good simulation for teachers/instructors who teach students with sensory sensitivities. I know it would have been helpful to prepare me. It's one thing to be told about, or read about, what it's like; it's another to experience it, even in an imperfect, simulated way. There was an interesting idea in the comments, too, about a simulation where you have one of a number of learning difficulties and have to navigate a school day.

[Also, best comment in response to the merry-go-round flinging bug: Oh, that happens all the time round here. We’ve all written to the council about it, but they never do anything.]
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:57 AM on March 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


How is it a game? All I can do is move around and then it gets louder and the visuals get weird. Or is that the point?
posted by desjardins at 11:02 AM on March 1, 2013


How is it a game? All I can do is move around and then it gets louder and the visuals get weird. Or is that the point?

I noticed that the closer the viewer got to other people/children, the stranger the visuals got.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:36 AM on March 1, 2013


As someone who may or may not be somewhere on the high-functioning end of the spectrum, this felt weirdly familiar. There is a thing that sometimes happens to me when I'm around people in public that's impossible to clearly articulate but it's like having static in my head and jolts of random electricity running through my body. It's unpleasant. I've gotten better at managing it, and it doesn't really happen too badly if at all around people I know/trust, but yeah. I go quiet, can't move right and withdraw. It's quite a lot like this (though less literal of course).
posted by byanyothername at 12:25 PM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


standing on the merry go round is a Lynchian nightmare.

I think I'd like this more if the "autism simulator" aspect were played down in favor of presenting it as just a piece of digital art.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 1:30 PM on March 1, 2013


Can't play it on my ipad, but I think it would have to have a smell sim to really approximate my Aspergers kid's world. Sounds and crowds bother him, but smells make him crazy. Today he texted me from school that his backpack smelled like onions and the whole house smelled like onions and I must do something about the onion smell. I do not smell onions.
posted by Biblio at 2:09 PM on March 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wow. Takes a while to understand but finally made it to level 2. How do I reload?
posted by hal9k at 2:48 PM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow. This past week, I had a syncopal episode out of nowhere while standing on a crowded train. The visuals here look exactly like what I was seeing then, when I was just about to faint -- the world graying out, becoming like static on broadcast TV. I had no idea that was part of the lived experience of autism. How literal is this depiction?
posted by Countess Elena at 12:37 PM on March 2, 2013


It is in fact trivially easy to jump the fence and escape into a featureless blank expanse, which was I think the most surprising thing I learned about autism.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 2:24 PM on March 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow. This past week, I had a syncopal episode out of nowhere while standing on a crowded train. The visuals here look exactly like what I was seeing then, when I was just about to faint -- the world graying out, becoming like static on broadcast TV. I had no idea that was part of the lived experience of autism. How literal is this depiction?

The greyout of syncope is related to lack of available oxygen to the brain, so I don't think that's likely.

I did some work with a psychiatrist involving virtual simulations of schizophrenia; while my experience there might not apply (and I'm not on the autism spectrum, so I can't make any direct arguments as to subjective stimuli) my guess is that the static/visual white noise effect might be designed more to introduce a certain sort of feeling in the player, rather than be a literal interpretation of what someone with autism might be experiencing.
posted by mikurski at 12:34 AM on March 3, 2013


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