online communities


Last night I sat with Andrew as he introduced himself to his first online community.

A few weeks ago someone mentioned to us the idea of letting Andrew play his Minecraft game online with other kids. “No way.” I said. “Too many creeps out there.” But Dave looked into it. He found a server specifically for autistic kids. It doesn’t have some of the features of regular minecraft…things that some kids might find upsetting…and it is VERY closely monitored. So, he emailed the person running the server and asked about signing up Andrew. It took a while, but we heard yesterday that Andrew was accepted into the community. So, last night, Andrew and I sat anxiously in front of the computer to see what it was all about.

And it was pretty awesome.

First Andrew explored around the Minecraft world that has been constructed. We could see chat messages of kids chatting, but we couldn’t find anyone else. So, after a few minutes, Andrew asked me to type “Hi! I’m new here and I don’t know my way around. Where is everyone?” And several kids piped up right away offering tours and explanations and welcoming Andrew. There was a woman moderator overseeing all of the interaction and she would jump in as needed to help out. Before we knew it, Andrew’s little character was transported to where another character was waiting for him…with a horse (?!) and had Andrew follow him all around to show him where things were. Other kids would come by to help with the tour “Make sure to show Andrew the store!” “Someone needs to tell him about the jobs!” He’d ask a simple question, and get lots of responses from kids playing.

There was something about it that was so heartwarming! He LOVED it. Heck, I loved it too!

And dang it, I should know by now that online communities can be really fun and supportive. I’ve found such a great community through blogging! But, to see a safe and fun way for it to work for my kid? I sort of can’t believe it!

He has big plans on what he wants to build tonight to show the other kids in the game. And I plan on being right there next to him for now to make sure everything is going okay and to help with chatting with my super speedy typing skilz! But so far my first impression of highly monitored online gaming? It’s great! :)


Though nothing really compares to leaf-shaped pumpkin scones!

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About robyn

I stopped teaching Kindergarten in 2005 to become the mom of two crazy boys here in Brooklyn. At first I thought being a stay at home mom meant that I needed to pour all my time and energy directly into my sons, but I realized somewhere along the way that being a rockstar mom meant not only taking good care of my boys, but also taking good care of myself. And taking good care of myself means pursuing something creative...just about everyday. I started Made In Brooklyn to motivate myself in my creative goals as well as share my work with others and perhaps inspire them in their own creative journeys.
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12 Responses to online communities

  1. Oh it made me so happy to read this! How awesome for Andrew, and I have a feeling this will really help him grow in ways that can’t be foreseen just yet. And now I want a pumpkin scone.

  2. Susan says:

    That’s great!

    Guess what we did last night? Took Joseph to an athletic . . . thing. Well, just Eric did. It’s a para-olympic training team (but with plenty of casual just-for-fun participants) and they are doing weight lifting through the winter. He loved it. He was reading the brochure for the organization and said, “It says right here that I’ll make lots of friends!”

    Yup. My kid does sports.

    • Robyn says:

      ??? really??

      gosh I wish Eric was more inclined to take pictures. That stinker. I’m so glad Joseph liked it! that’s great, Susan!!! So funny about the brocure. Were there lots of other kids there? or mostly adults?

      • Susan says:

        It’s a kids team but there were only four others last night. I guess no one was very chatty but they weren’t unfriendly. That seems normal in the wheelchair community. Not sure why. I think the real action is in the spring when track and fuels starts.

        • Robyn says:

          four others seems like a good turn out to me! were you expecting there to be more? I’ve never been in a room with 5 kids in wheelchairs, you know?

          I wish I could go with him! i want to see what it’s like!!

  3. Debs says:

    I loved reading about this, and bet Andrew cannot wait to join in again tonight. What a great experience and so reassuring that it is safely monitored. Have fun Andrew!!!

  4. Ruth says:

    A server just for children with autism? Fantastic!
    Andrew is going to have a whale of a time!

  5. Cathy says:

    great canadian scones Robyn!

  6. Vicki Dill says:

    This post made me happy on so many levels!!! Who knew that there was such a specific “server” (I don’t even know what a server is) and how exciting for Andrew!! Finding kids with his passion for mine craft as well as a desire to welcome and guide a new player!! And pumpkin scones!! Gives me an idea for tonight!

  7. kirsten says:

    So cool!

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