What if we can use games as a social intervention tool to provide better opportunities for people to form meaningful connections and to battle social isolation?
This is not a completely novel idea. Games, such as Dungeons and Dragons have already been successfully implemented as such an interventions, especially when helping people on the autism spectrum.
The novelty idea is to introduce the game of Go as an intervention to provide young people on the spectrum with meaningful social interactions, as well as to learn transferable new skills.
From my experience as a Go facilitator, people on the spectrum are especially good at learning Go, which is not surprising. Some of the obvious reasons are the need to sustain a high level of concentration and to solve complicated puzzles. It is also deeply satisfying as a facilitator, to have such fast and keen learners.
Introducing Go as a game for people on the spectrum, however, is far more than a a valuable opportunity for intellectual stimulation and cognitive development. It provides an opportunity to create social connections, and to meet other equally-minded people through a social activity. Social isolation has been named as “the hidden killer” in society and feeling alone can be as damaging as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. This is why combating social isolation is far more valuable than any other type of intervention.
Institute 361 is introducing Go sessions in collaboration with Autism clinics as a social experiment in small groups to provide opportunities for social connections and shared learning using the fascinating game of Go.
Our first partner is the Spectrum Clinic where we will start a small pilot group in February. If you are interested in participating or introducing Go sessions at your clinic, please reach out on firstname.lastname@example.org. We are looking forward to hearing from you. All Go activities can be claimed under the NDIS.