Living with autism is a challenge in itself. And while the World Health Organization estimates that one child in 160 worldwide suffers from some form of autism, it doesn't minimize the added social stigma or prejudices regarding the disease.
Now 13-year-old Hamish Finlayson is all set to help people understand his condition better. The Australian boy is using his own experience to change people's idea of autism and spreading awareness about it using apps and games he has created.
The teenage boy has been coding since he was in the third grade. He had his first app out by the age of 10! Now in the eighth grade, Hamish aims to help people understand the ill effects of littering – spreading environmental awareness as well — and simultaneously educating people about exactly how autism affects people.
With four apps for environmental causes and a game about autism called ASD and Me already to his name, Hamish hopes to help people understand what it is like to live with autism via the medium of virtual reality.
Hamish's disorder is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) — a developmental disorder characterized by challenges faced in terms of social interaction, communication and mostly restricted and repetitive behaviors.
The term "spectrum" refers to the several levels of intellectual functioning and variations in the challenges faced and other strengths of a person suffering from autism.
Hamish's latest game ASD and Me is his attempt at helping people understand ASD better as the main character in the game struggles with the same disorder. Throughout the game, the character struggles with loud music and the players have to help him get to his headphones.
The VR game Hamish is currently working involves users helping people suffering from autism to cross the road. Hamish's apps and games are all free. Speaking to BBC, he shared that he isn't doing this for the money.