Monday, July 14, 2008

Games for focal abilities: Set and visual perception

Last week I wrote about focal abilities in the context of cognitive disability, and implications for employment in a distributed world. I was partly inspired by a friend who knew of an autistic child who was very good at the card game "Set":
Be the Best You can Be: Employment for special needs persons – hints from the classification of galaxies

...These [larger] disabilities are often offset by domains of relative, and even, absolute, strength, such as rapid pattern recognition in the card game “Set”, or rapid discrimination of large amounts of visual data. Tasks similar to the Galaxy Zoo classification, but with payment attached, might become an option – in time...
Since Child A has almost savant abilities to locate family members in a crowd, Andrew suggested I try him with "Set" -- a "game of visual perception".

The directions seem complex at first. Players choose groups of 3 cards from a larger set of 12 in which each of four attributes (color, shape, shading, number) are either identical or unique. I wasn't sure my son would get the game.

He saw me practicing as I thought about how to teach this, walked over, and started stamping out sets.

I guess he's played this before.

I'm not sure he's brilliant at Set, but for now he's much better than I am. Unsurprisingly, given his ADHD, he doesn't have much patience for the rules. He prefers to lay out all the cards, and pick out sets without keeping score.

It's great to have a game he can excel at, even though we'll need to be flexible with the rules.

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