Brain in Hand hold Minecraft marathon on World Autism Awareness Day

Published on: 30 March 2015

To celebrate World Autism Awareness Day, Brain in Hand will hold a Minecraft marathon, to raise money for charity
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To mark World Autism Awareness Day on 2 April, one Exeter Company is holding a twelve hour Minecraft marathon to raise funds for charities with which they work. Minecraft is a hugely popular Lego style adventure video game that places players in a randomly generated world. During the marathon, at least two people will play the game constantly and will be joined by online guests.

The company, Brain in Hand, based at the Innovation Centre at the University of Exeter, are holding the event to raise funds for the autistic charities; Ambitious about Autism, Mencap and local radio station Positively Autistic. But it will also be delivering a more serious message about the need for greater support.

Emma Flint, Brain in Hand Support Services Manager said: “Alongside the fun, the company will be delivering a more serious message about the need for better and more accessible support tools in the world of autism services, by sharing user videos on social media.”
Emma continued: “As a technology company, we wanted a challenge that would demonstrate its power for collaboration. Many young people with autism diagnoses have found solace and community through online gaming, with Minecraft seeming to strike a particular chord for those on the spectrum. There’s even a dedicated server, Autcraft, where players are hosted by a team of volunteers, many of whom are parents of young people with autism conditions.

“Minecraft’s development team, Mojang, were small in number when they first created the game, which has since been sold to Microsoft for $2.5 billion. As a small, start-up team ourselves, we are inspired by their success and like them, we are user-led, constantly evolving Brain in Hand and releasing regular updates according to demand.”

More than one in one hundred people in the UK have autism, a lifelong condition which affects how a person communicates with and relates to others and how they perceive the world around them.

Brain in Hand have developed an award winning support system which enables users to cope smoothly with everyday situations. Combining a tailored website and phone app with remote support from mentors, the system can be tailored to suit individuals and their daily lives including diarising activities and charting moods.

The app invites the users to become more independent and take charge of situations in which they may have typically struggled. It was highly commended at the Autism Awards 2014 and received first prize in the Building Better Healthcare Awards at the end of 2013.
David Fry, CEO of Brain in Hand said: “We truly have the technology to help large numbers of people with autism and other conditions to lead more independent lives.

“Brain in Hand is a unique assistive technology system helping individuals be their best – confident, supported and in control.”

Brain in Hand is made up of ten employees, many of whom have first-hand experience of autism. The company plan to adapt the app to assist with a range of other conditions, such as acquired brain injury and anxiety-related mental health issues.

You can watch the fun on Brain in Hand’s Facebook and Twitter feeds on 2 April. Anyone wanting to support the team can offer a donation.

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