Children can already be overwhelmed and bullied in the real world, but maybe the internet can offer some solace. That’s what this dad created when he built an entire Minecraft server for children with autism.
Stuart Duncan, also known by his online alias AutismDad, created Autcraft: a server that has garnered over 8,000 players since it was created four years ago.
He recalled its genesis when he wrote, “In 2012–2013, I saw parent after parent after parent posting on social media: ‘Do you have a child with autism that loves Minecraft? Would they be willing to play with my child?’”
“These parents were all reaching out because they were tired of seeing their children being bullied on the servers that they tried. Their children were breaking their keyboards, crying and feeling terrible. They felt powerless to help. So, Autcraft was my way of helping.”
Since Duncan himself has been diagnosed as autistic, he understood how vital it was for children to have safe spaces to play. Autcraft has become his day job, with all his time dedicated to maintaining the server alongside a team of volunteers. He currently asks for donations via Patreon.
“I have made it my mission to help as many children with autism as I can which means ensuring that Autcraft remains a free server for those who need it. It is my belief that those who need a safe place like Autcraft most are also the ones least likely to be able to afford a membership fee.”
“[Autcraft] gives children with autism and their families a place where they can play the game they love with people just like them, and they can feel safe and confident to just be themselves,” said Duncan. “It’s not about getting other people to accept them but getting them to accept themselves.”