My son is autistic, that simple. He is older now but I do remember the frustrating days when he was a young boy and the struggle to keep him engaged and occupied–there really wasn’t much entertainment specifically for him. The mainstream animated films & television shows were often too busy and loud and often times over stimulating. Like many autistic children my son was keenly interested in Thomas the Tank Engine and the idea seemed to evolve from analyzing why that was.
Bot! is a computer animated show for all children, however it contains specific details for children with autism. These are some facts we discovered during the development of Bot!:
Children with autism are often attracted to objects arranged in lines (like cars on a train), as well as spinning objects and wheels. Trains, for example, help Autistic children to make sense of their fascination with lines– they give the behavior an intent and a purpose.
To an autistic child, the inner-workings of machines, and their role in the grown-up world, are endlessly fascinating.
Children with autism usually enjoy specific and relatively narrow points of interest. Trains and other vehicles are a fairly narrow topic, but there is much to discover within the educational category. A child with autism can spend days, weeks, months, or even years discovering specific details about vehicles. For example, they enjoy memorizing the order of train cars– the engine first, the caboose last.
Calmer, more soothing environments. Many autistic children cannot bear noisy restaurants or movie theaters.
For me it was simple-grab Cinema 4D (an industry leading 3D animating software) and dig in. The learning curve has been steep and over the last few months I’ve had to add more computers in order to decrease render times. What is render time? Let’s put it this way; Once the scene has been built the computer must render each frame (and there are 30 frames in each second of animation)…some frames can take up to 3 hours to render…
I’m starting to see a lot of me in Bot–clumsy, dorky, a little goofy, but serious.