Organization offers digital media training for autistic youth

Ontario-based organization “Every1Games” offers programs in Toronto and Niagara for autistic and neurodivergent youth, where they offer training in skills related to gaming and interactive digital media.

One of the primary goals of the organization is to offer challenging social and professional skills that are directly applicable to success in life after high school. The program emphasizes their commitment to providing challenge.

According to the program’s website, “many social programs are ‘too childish’ or ‘not challenging enough’ for autistic or otherwise neurodivergent (ADHD, dyslexic, dyscalculic, depressed, etc.) youth who are contemplating postsecondary education and careers… we aim to introduce participants to the skills required and paths available to meet their goals while helping to produce quality talent for the growing digital media industry.”

Despite the emphasis on challenge, however, the organization stresses that there is no experience necessary, so any neurodivergent youth who are interested in attending are welcome. They also emphasize that they are a social skills program first, that also includes some technical training as a secondary focus, so any interested youth are encouraged to apply regardless of their prior experience or skills.

The program runs in coordination with local post-secondary schools, with the intention of connecting students with colleges and universities in their area. They are also partnered with many prominent industry allies, including eSports organizer ESChamp and game studio Get Set Games. Inclusive hiring organizations such as Ready Willing and Able, Autism Ontario and ConnectABILITY have also expressed their support of the program.

/ Every1Games

/ Every1Games

Academically, Every1Games is connected with George Brown College, iHub, Brock University, Ryerson University, the Experimental Design and Gaming Environments Lab, the Ontario Creative Development Studios, and many other institutions.

The skills offered through Every1Games’ programs include traditional and digital art, game design, visual computer programming and sound and music engineering. Programs are currently offered in Niagara and the GTA. The program is also looking to expand both its content and locations.

In addition to these specialized gaming programs, Every1Games also offers more social and life skills-focused programs. Their program “Keep Calm Travel On,” for example, teaches participants how to take trips on the TTC independently in order to help them plan and take trips on city transit.

In Toronto, the programs are held at George Brown. In St Catharines, the program is hosted at the Educational Research and Innovation Hub (iHub), in collaboration with Brock’s Centre for Digital Humanities.

Interested participants are encouraged to check out the program’s website for upcoming programs. Users can create an account on the website that allows them to browse through offerings and register for the best program for them. The program also accepts feedback and suggestions from people who want programs to be offered in different areas or regions where they are not currently offered.

Two of the most recently announced courses, which will be run this upcoming March and April, are titled Winter Creative Production and Winter Spec Ops. Creative Production allows students to work with a variety of different software. They will develop experience with different tools and roles centered around developing a creative project.

The Every1Games logo/ Every1Games

The Every1Games logo/ Every1Games

Spec Ops focuses on Unreal 4 and Unity Game Engine, two popular professional game design and development tools, which participants will use to create a game. Participants will get experience with both independent and group work, and will work with award-winning game design students to learn either art tools, programming or sound engineering software (students can pick which skills to focus on based on their own personal interests) in the process of creating this game.

For more information about programs, registration and every1games in general, check out every1games.ca. To register for courses, participants are asked to make an account.

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