Running from October 2019, the workshops will offer an accessible experience for 8-14 years old children with autism to explore, build, create and foster social skills through the magic of Minecraft.
The workshops follow a two-month pilot program at Microsoft Store Sydney. Driven by an inquiry from a customer, who was looking for an inclusive space for their autistic son to socialise in, the Microsoft community team created a regular, dedicated event for children on the spectrum to meet and game together. Autism can affect the way a person communicates and interacts with other people and their environment. This can mean children on the spectrum may have social communication difficulties, sensory sensitivities and repetitive behaviour, making it sometimes challenging for them to engage and interact in group workshops and events.
Microsoft Store Sydney worked closely with Aspect to develop an approved format for the new workshops and to create an inclusive environment within the Store during these times. Changes to the format included dimmed lighting, reduced noise and training of Microsoft Store staff to better understand the needs of kids on the autism spectrum.
The new workshops allow children on the autism spectrum to immerse themselves in Minecraft, meet and have fun with other builders in the area, and stretch their skills with timed challenges.