Gamess Project

Games for students with Autism as an effective Methodology in Education for the development of Social Skills

Project Code: 2021-1-DK01-KA220-SCH-000034350 


Different research studies (Courtenay y Perera, 2020; Amaral, de Vries, 2020; Ameis et al., 2020) showed the negative effects COVID19 was bringing up for autistic people, in areas such as physical and emotional health, employment, family context, and the risk of loss of social skills and development setbacks. Such challenges, when they are present, are exacerbated by the unique social characteristics commonly associated with autistic people, who may often face difficulties in forming and maintaining social connections. Therefore, there is an urgent need to address the design or reinvention of educational service delivery using online/virtual tools that specifically focus on promoting the development of social skills for autistic children. These tools should be presented in a fun and educational manner, drawing on Game-Based Learning (GBL), that also enable teachers to enhance the social inclusion of children in mainstream classrooms. This approach is accompanied by a curriculum and an educational handbook.

Barriers in accessing digital technologies are mainly caused by a lack of accessible tools; lack of competences (teachers, people with learning disabilities and their families); poorly adapted educational methodologies; and few technological resources. In this sense, autistic people with lower cognitive levels need to improve their digital skills in order to bridge this gap and successfully use digital resources and technologies. Likewise, support and training for families and for professionals who attend them are also essential. Consequently, there is a need to create easily accessible tools for distance learning, that may both enhance digital competencies of autistic people and augment their social skills.

Acquiring social skills in schools is considered equally crucial as imparting academic knowledge. The capacity to engage appropriately is essential not only for acceptance within the school environment but also for success in life. Therefore there is a need for an interconnected educational package featuring a social skills curriculum, a virtual reality game to enhance social skills, and a booklet containing group classroom games that promote social interaction.

“The GAMESS project has been developed in respect to Game-Based Learning (GBL) approaches and co-funded by ERASMUS+ , KA220-SCH-Cooperation partnerships in school education. All the materials developed should be considered as an additional educational tool for learning purposes only, as they have been designed to assist teachers in promoting unity and accessibility within the classroom by supplying practical tools that may have a positive influence on the learning process of all students. The main objectives of the project revolved around enhancing social skills and social awareness of autistic students or autistic children within the mainstream classroom, assisting in the development of cognitive skills, and encouraging acceptance among peers. Thus, we must emphasise, that the project’s findings and materials are intended for educational purposes and should not be considered as alternatives, substitutes or extensions of other means of approaching autistic children. Of significance, this project aimed to create environments and set goals that promote the well-being and authentic expression of autistic children. Teachers are encouraged to take careful consideration of ethical principles, including the use of inclusive and respectful terminology.


One of the characteristics of autistic children, children with learning disabilities and other neurodevelopmental disorders is social skills deficiency. Given the idiosyncratic difficulties in the social and emotional understanding of autistic children, teachers may face considerable difficulties in managing their needs, thereby affecting the quality of the teachers’ relationship with these children (Emam and Farrell, 2009). Within this context, and considering how important learning social skills from an early age is, and the challenges teachers can face, we proposed a project with target group being general pre-school /primary school teachers who have autistic students in their mainstream classes, with the following objectives:

  • To design, test and publish an innovative Educational Package on GBL for mainstream education teachers (primary school)
  • To design and create a variety of games- a VR game, and a booklet with a number of group classroom games that promote social skills development in autistic children, and also in their neurotypical peers
  • To deliver a training course to train general primary school teachers on GBL and on how to use and create a variety of games to enhance social skills of children with autism in the mainstream classroom

Target Group

Direct target group

Primary school teachers, as well as training providers that will incorporate the elaborated project outputs into their training/ educational offer and encourage trainers to make use of them.

Indirect target group

Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), professionals specializing in GBL, governmental departments, policymakers, professional associations working with autistic people and their families, and trainers working with teachers.

Intellectual Outputs

Social Skills Curriculum has been generated by all partners under the guidance of the curriculum design experts within the consortium. It addresses primary school teachers working with autistic children in the mainstream classroom. It aims to serve as the base for teachers who want to enrich social skills of their autistic students, and increase the teachers’ skills and competencies according to the specific requirements of the project. Taking into consideration:

a) the challenges autistic children face in the mainstream classroom and in the school environment in general

b) the social skills that autistic children usually lack (i.e communication skills)

c) the absence of comprehensive training curricula that focuses on the professional development of teachers in social skills. We consider that this training curriculum will bridge the gap between theory and praxis since practically it will familiarise the teachers with the GAMESS educational package (VR Game & Booklet of classroom group games).

The curriculum will be an invaluable source that will support teachers when upskilling social skills of their autistic students and will result in students’ improved school life and integration into the wider community.

This VR game is a collection of activities teachers can do with one or more students to train soft skills among children with autism. The activities range from drawing activities to emotion recognition to turn-taking. The VR game is online so teachers and students can be in the same environment at the same time, as well as multiple students can play together at the same time.

The activities implemented are based on the Booklet, also available here on the website.

This Booklet has been designed for primary school teachers. It is a collection of group games, which teachers can use to enrich social skills of young autistic students through interactive activities in real-life settings. This booklet will solve the problem educators often face in having adequate educational material to enhance social skills of their students. The social skills to be targeted were decided by the consortium, and the booklet was developed containing the theory behind group games learning, and guidelines to walk teachers through setting up each game, facilitating it, and debriefing participants. Various methods and approaches were followed, such as debates, role-play games in real-world settings, systems-thinking, and strategic exercises, having the potential to engage participants in a fun and motivating way.

Basically, the aim of the group games was to have young autistic children acquire social skills in question by practicing them in real-life-like settings. The innovative nature of the booklet lies in the fact that no booklet of Group classroom games for social skills, specially designed for autistic children, who are the final beneficiaries of the process, has been published so far. 


The training activity took place in Burgos, Spain between 23rd and 25th of October, 2023. In this LTTA (Learning, Teaching and Training Activity) a total of 12 teachers from five partner countries were trained to use GBL (including VR technology and group classroom games) to enhance social skills of autistic children in the mainstream classroom. This training activity had a dual scope:

1. To increase the range of teaching skills of the teachers, specifically needed to upskill social skills of young autistic children (and also their neurotypical peers) through games. These skills are not usually taught explicitly in schools, despite the fact that a lot of autistic children struggle with social interactions. From this point of view, the aim of the training was to enable participants:

– Feel more confident using GBL in their teaching

-Become familiar with the Curriculum and the 2 different types of games developed within the project

-Recognise the basic social skills applicable in the school

2. To pilot-test the effectiveness of the developed materials against a group of teachers, from different countries or specialisations, who had the ability to provide a critical view over the documentation and identify possible gaps or difficulties in its application to autistic students. Teachers experienced all phases of project implementation and pilot tested the project outputs to define the necessary improvements and adjust them to the real needs of their students.

Finally, the training aimed to encourage the participants to develop non-formal education materials related to topics addressed. The training course was developed in the form of workshops in two different stages:

a) Presentation of the project outputs, their value, and settings that they can be used
b) Training on how to use the developed materials

The LTTA in Burgos, Spain, 23-25 October, 2023



Newsletter 1
Newsletter 2

Transnational Project Meetings (TPMs) brought partners together to discuss project progress and milestones in face-to-face meetings.

Multiplier Events took place in each partner country. Project was fully introduced with all its results.

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