Guest post by Elizabeth Barnes at Autism Mom.
Autcraft, the Minecraft server for children on the Autism spectrum, could become a victim of its own success.
In the almost three years since its inception, the Minecraft server has grown from a handful of players to over 6,000 registered members.
Recently Stuart Duncan, the creator and administrator of Autcraft, has realized that either Autcraft has to become able to support itself or he may have to close it down.
This could be devastating for the thousands of children on the spectrum and their families who rely on Autcraft as a safe, supportive place for them to play Minecraft, socialize, and grow.
WHAT IS AUTCRAFT?
Created by Duncan (“AutismFather” in the game) who not only has autism himself but also a child with autism, Autcraft was designed to be a safe place for children to play Minecraft online without experiencing bullying and other social unpleasantness that can happen on public Minecraft servers.
The Autcraft server is administrated by Duncan, and part-time by volunteer adults and players that include autistics, parents of autistic children and family members of someone with autism.
WHAT MAKES AUTCRAFT SPECIAL?
Autcraft is unique because it is a closed server – one has to apply to join and whitelist applications are individually reviewed and approved.
Most importantly, Autcraft is closely overseen by Duncan and Autcraft’s volunteer administrators and helpers
- Bullying, killing, stealing, griefing, etc., is not tolerated
- Swearing and misbehavior is not tolerated
- There is an in-game support system so that when a players needs administrator help, they can get it almost right away
- Players builds are protected using WorldGuard so that no one can damage them by accident or on purpose
- All blocks placed, blocks broken, items dropped, picked up and more are tracked to see exactly what happens anywhere on the server
Duncan has always refused to charge players fees to join – he doesn’t want any child on the spectrum to be excluded from Autcraft because they don’t have the means to join.
WHAT PARENTS AND PLAYERS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT AUTCRAFT
Autcraft has been featured by numerous news outlets such as the TODAY Show in Australia, the Voice of America, BBC radio, among others, each describing how valuable the Autcraft experience has been for children on the Autism spectrum:
While Duncan started Autcraft to give kids an outlet to play a game they loved, it has quickly become a godsend for parents and therapists who credit it with their children’s incredible developmental gains. “We’ve heard from parents whose children’s therapists have been shocked with how much progress they’ve made and they’re like, ‘What are you doing different?’ and the parents say, ‘Autcraft’” ~ News.Com.Au
But the best way to understand is to hear it directly from the players and their families. Continue reading