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Using games to treat anxiety, autism

Using games to treat anxiety, autism

October 29, 2014 | By Christian Nutt

October 29, 2014 | By Christian Nutt
More: Console/PC, Serious, Design

"The program starts to not feel like a game ... It feels real. You know it is an alternate reality, but you feel the same emotions you would feel in the actual situation you are practicing."
- Carly McCullar, who's being treated for her autism-spectrum disorder with a game

A new story over at Mashable highlights the work of the University of Texas at Dallas' Center for BrainHealth, which is using virtual reality games to help treat anxiety and autism-spectrum disorders -- by helping people learn how to deal with social interactions in a virtual space.

"We now know that the brain changes in social engagement and that the virtual reality environment is a viable platform for treatment. There really are limitless possibilities," says Dr. Sandra Bond Chapman, founder and chief director of the Center for BrainHealth.

Beyond specialized serious games, like the one McCullar plays, the piece also gets into how everything from Zelda to Portal 2 have been used by psychologists to help patients over the years.

The full story is well worth a look. The Center for BrainHealth also has its own blog on the program.

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