By Peyton E.
Today I want to talk about video games, Tourette’s, and competency. What do I mean by “competency”? Competency refers to the strengths a child has in certain areas. For example, a child may struggle academically, but be gifted at sports. Or, they can struggle in math but be a very gifted student in English. Even a child who nearly failed high school could grow up to run a small business. All children have gifts, including those with TS. All children have struggles, too. Evidence of children’s strengths can sometimes fall outside of the normal structure of school, including in the area of video games.
The relationship between parents, children, and video games can be complicated. To parents, video games can seem like a waste of time, or worse, dangerous to their child’s mental health. But not all video games are the same, and they can be a lot of fun for kids. They can be a place for children to interact with their friends. Or, they can be a way for children to relieve stress and access their strengths.
One of my favorite games is Shovel Knight. It’s a 2D platformer where you play as a little blue knight, fighting enemies in a magical fantasy land. It’s colorful, and there’s no blood or excessively gory violence. Just a knight and his shovel. While I’m not very good at the game, I realized after years of playing that I’m far from bad at it either. Much of the game is very intuitive to me. I personally find 2D games to be more accessible to me, as opposed to more complicated 3D games, but other children might find solace in games like Fortnite or Halo.
Either way, a child’s strengths may lie in the video games they choose to play. I’ve realized over the years that I rarely tic while I am engrossed in a game like Shovel Knight, much like when I am acting onstage, one of my other strengths. And, I am able to make quick movements the game requires. I am very good with using my hands to play this game, even after struggling for years to write with clear handwriting.
Video games can also give children multiple chances to achieve success, which isn’t always the case in real life. In school, for example, a child may only get one chance to complete a difficult test. Accommodations like extra time can ease some of the frustration, but it may not always make the test itself less difficult.
If your child has an interest in video games, game playing time can be a benefit to them. Of course, setting limits and boundaries for game playing is important, but so is allowing your child time to express themselves. For example, giving your child time when they get home from school to decompress and play a game could be helpful. Put a timer on to limit the time. Then, once they finish their homework, they can have a bit more game time.
Also being aware of the type of content in the games your children are playing is important. Many games nowadays are sold on consoles, and on PC via Steam. Steam allows you to buy games digitally and play them on a computer. Games sold on Steam have a store page with information about the game and reviews. A simple Google search should bring this information up and more. If you don’t want your child playing violent games, Google the name of the games your child wants to play before purchase.
I generally like to play bright, colorful 2D games. To finish this post, I’d like to share a few of my favorites which your child might also enjoy:
Sonic Mania (Plus):
Sonic Mania is a vibrant and colorful 2D platformer where you can roll around at the speed of sound as Sonic, a blue hedgehog who runs fast, and his friends. The game also has downloadable content (DLC) which can be bought to add two extra playable characters, and other extra content. I love the Sonic the Hedgehog series, and this game is one of my favorites.
Shovel Knight (Treasure Trove):
As mentioned before, Shovel Knight is a wonderful game about using a shovel to defeat magical bad guys in a fantasy game world. If you buy the Treasure Trove version, it comes with more playable characters, more levels, more game modes, and more!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge:
If your child loves Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, they’ll love this game. Take to the streets to defeat the diabolical Foot Clan as one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! This game is full of classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action, with six playable characters and multiplayer modes, so your child can play the game with friends!
Mega Man 11:
The Mega Man series is one of my favorite video game series. You play as a blue Robot named Mega Man, who fights through colorful levels filled with robot baddies, in order to defeat the evil Dr. Wily! Mega Man 11 is the latest entry in the long-running series: your child can also play Mega Man 1 through 10 by purchasing the Mega Man Legacy Collection 1 and 2! All of the games are wonderful, but Mega Man 11 features multiple difficulty options, for players of all skill levels. This and other features make it a good starting point for new players.
That’s it folks! I hope this was a helpful guide to the world of Tourette’s and video games.