Special Needs
Information for Parents of Children with Autism

"My son plays Switch Zoo every single day… I’ve lost count of the number of animals he’s “invented”. Being autistic, he is not much for writing, but with this software, he is compelled to ‘describe’ each new animal through the interface given, so it is having some very good benefits for him along with the entertainment value. Truly a great and innovative game! Best, John"

Over the years that Switch Zoo has been online, we have received many emails about its appeal and usefulness for children with special needs. Although this feedback is anecdotal, the enthusiasm of the parents who have written has motivated us to include some information about the benefits of this game for children with interactional and attention deficit disorders.

Benefits for children with autism include:

  • Provides Pivotal Response Training (PRT) by giving children the power to make choices.
  • Provides continuous reinforcement, as children are rewarded after every button click. The reward, or reinforcer, is the fun of seeing the animal change to include the new feature that the child selected. In Switch Zoo, every action gets an immediate reaction, fostering a sense of involvement and interaction, as well as demonstrating cause and effect.
  • Helps children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) develop focus and concentration.
  • When played with a parent, sibling or friend, the shared animal-creation activity helps children develop social interaction skills. When playing Switch Zoo with your child, you may want to try taking turns choosing new animal parts, initiate a discussion about the animal combinations, or ask your child to make up a story about the animals.
  • Encourages flexibility and openness to new experiences.
  • The immersive visual activity of Switch Zoo shifts the focus from verbal to visual, resulting in a compelling experience for visual thinkers.

Additional notes:

Switch Zoo is a noisy place, filled with button sounds and sound effects that accompany the animations. If your child is sensitive to sound, please lower the volume or turn off the sound on your computer before visiting Switch Zoo.