Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 45, Issue 12, pp 3820–3831 | Cite as

Designing Serious Game Interventions for Individuals with Autism

  • Elisabeth M. WhyteEmail author
  • Joshua M. Smyth
  • K. Suzanne Scherf
Original Paper


The design of “Serious games” that use game components (e.g., storyline, long-term goals, rewards) to create engaging learning experiences has increased in recent years. We examine of the core principles of serious game design and examine the current use of these principles in computer-based interventions for individuals with autism. Participants who undergo these computer-based interventions often show little evidence of the ability to generalize such learning to novel, everyday social communicative interactions. This lack of generalized learning may result, in part, from the limited use of fundamental elements of serious game design that are known to maximize learning. We suggest that future computer-based interventions should consider the full range of serious game design principles that promote generalization of learning.


Autism Serious game Virtual reality Technology Computer-based intervention Cognitive training 



This work was supported by Pennsylvania Department of Health SAP Grant 4100047862. This research was also supported by Penn State’s Center for Online Innovation in Learning.

Conflict of interest

The authors report no potential conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elisabeth M. Whyte
    • 1
    Email author
  • Joshua M. Smyth
    • 2
  • K. Suzanne Scherf
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyPennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biobehavioral HealthPennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

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