Kyle Barton, an instructor at nonPareil Institute, teaches coding and video game design skills to adults with autism. Barton helped design the most recent addition to Charisma this year when the nonPareil Institute partnered with the University of Texas Dallas’ Center for BrainHealth. Charisma is a program that offers adolescents and adults with autism the opportunity to learn social cues from virtual interactions. Charisma introduces players to non-scripted virtual conversations with real people.
Tandra Allen from the Center for BrainHealth told Dallas News, “after using the program, participants have improved emotion recognition and understanding of others’ intentions”. Participants learn to communicate with others and improve their understanding of social cues by playing the game. Take a look at the video about the Center for BrainHealth‘s program, Charisma:
Barton developed a virtual movie theater for participants to socialize in. Adolescents and adults with autism are placed in social situations, such as ordering from the concession stand, in the virtual movie theater that may result in anxiety. In these situations, they learn how to identify social cues.
Dallas News reports that Barton, who is 28 years old and is on the autism spectrum, finds dealing with crowds and meeting new people challenging. Barton told Dallas News that the program, “would have made middle school ‘a heck of a lot easier’”. Dallas News also reports that Barton’s mission is to continue improving the lives of individuals with autism.