Haven Editorial: Autism in Gaming

I know Autism awareness month has passed, but there is something I’ve wanted to say to our follows, our readers, our viewers, and anyone who happens to stumble across this lovely little place I own and manage.

I am Autistic, a lot of people don’t understand what it means and for the most part I am still learning about the quarks I have with it. It makes me obsessive over things, in this case gaming, I love gaming! Card games, board games, even digital games. I also obsess over schedules and plans it’s why I get annoyed a lot by my team.

But what I hate, and not just a simple loathe but a real hate, is how we are viewed by society. A lot of people consider us broken, that we aren’t special, or don’t fit in. Now don’t misunderstand me with this, there are people out there worse off than me.

I’m known as a high functioning autistic person. This means that I have a lot of the social issues an autistic person has, but I can still function as a human being for the most part. I generally don’t do things that make me uncomfortable and I like to follow a strict regime for pretty much everything I do. As I mentioned earlier I obsess about games.

People worry and say that games and Autism are bad, I don’t think so. I like games because of the structure it provides in a very unstructured world. Like the person in the Kotaku article said.

For some, games offer structure, for others escape. Still others find themselves inspired to dive to depths in games that would go unexplored by others.

I personally prefer Role-playing games because I can understand how the flow of conversations will go.  A lot of the time I misunderstand sarcasm because I have issues with not understanding certain social ques.

I am able to live my life though as a somewhat normal person, thanks to me identifying my issues and having a way to cope. But it’s no cake walk, because I live in a world where I am treated differently by a lot of people simply because of how my brain is. That bothers me, the worst part is I am clever and I understand this and why they are doing what they do.

Even now working at my job, people are keen to treat me a bit nicer simply because of it. I am only getting healthcare in the United States because of it. People have the audacity to judge people with Autism also because of their obsessions, putting us down, treating us differently, and it bothers me.

Hell, we got an entire month dedicated to helping people become more aware of Autism but all it does is reinforce the labeling we have been given by society. I never asked for it, I never wanted it. I just wanted to live my life as a average person and until I had to return to the United States I was doing just that.

Yes, Autism is a mental illness and there are people less fortunate than I am with it, severe cases that need constant help and support. But at the same time, this is not something I wanted. I didn’t want to be born this way; I didn’t want the labeling that came along with it. I’ve been fortunate to avoid most of the worse parts of the issues that come along with it, the bullying for example.  I got lucky because I was home-schooled after a while.

I guess what I am trying to say here, and avoiding the point is. I game because it’s my way of coping; it’s my way of understanding and helping people understand. Gamers-Haven is a place I created so people from all walks of life, religion, and genders. So that they can be welcomed with open arms including people who are Autistic like myself. I know not everyone out there is bad; I genuinely know and understand that my views are a tad bit bias because of my experiences and understanding towards the situations at hand. But others like me, none of us wanted what life dealt us. It’s why I avoid a lot of social situations, it’s why I game, It’s why I genuinely keep people out of my life. Because society has made Autism a defining factor for people who cannot show the world what they are capable of because that label is all they see.

The only reason I even write this, is so everyone can see. I may be an Autistic person, but I am also a person who has created a marvelous little website among the few friends I have to achieve something we all strive and yearn for.

A world where everyone can be accepted for who they are and not viewed with labels society places upon us.

-Daniel Clatworthy