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Optimising the transition to secondary education of youths with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Publication date: 01 January 2015

Youths with ASD have difficulty in adjusting to new situations. The transition to secondary education can form a challenge for these young persons. It is, therefore, important that programmes are deployed in primary education which contribute to a good preparation of these pupils for their transition.


Project description

In the framework of the Academic Consortium Autism - Do It Together! we are working together with various partners to carry out innovative and applied research in order to optimise the transition care for young persons with ASD within the project FLOW (useFul Learning Opportunities for tomorroW).


The project aims to develop a serious game for young persons with ASD, with accompanying professionalization modules for teachers by means of an iterative development path.

There will also be a professionalization module whereby education consultants are trained to support young persons with ASD and their teachers in working with the game before, during and at the end of the transition to secondary education.

This approach is implemented at a great number of Rotterdam schools. Using a small-scale pilot study, the experienced user-friendliness of the developed serious game and the accompanying two professionalization modules are investigated.

Research is also conducted on whether this approach has an effect on the competences, problems and needs of young persons with ASD around the transition. The knowledge and experiences generated in the pilot study serve as input to optimise the developed approach and to set up larger scale further research.

What are serious games?

Generally speaking, gaming is very motivating for young persons. Especially young persons with ASD feel attracted to technology, computers and games. Contrary to entertainment games, serious games are focused on acquiring knowledge and/or skills and/or changing behaviour in a playful way within an attractive digital gaming environment.

In serious games, children can experiment within a digital and safe gaming environment, and get used to, and learn how to deal with, difficult "real-life" situations or problems. A serious game can use several media: it can be a board game or a card game, a facilitated management game or a computer game. 

Most serious games are applied within healthcare such as Re-mission and Snowworld. However, more and more serious games are becoming available within education and mental health care (such as SPARX) to support treatment. For example, serious games are more and more often used with children with ADHD, ASD and psychoses. The aim is to enable children and adolescents to apply a new way of thinking or behaving in daily (educational) practice, based on specific feedback.