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This article describes the support for social interactions received bythree students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) through theirmultimodal engagements withMinecraft®. The data were collectedthrough at-screen observations and semi-structured interviews.Multimodal analysis of the data demonstrated that onlinemultiplayer games supported social interactions through modes,such as speech, writing and gesture, and within physical andvirtual spaces. The analysis revealed that online multiplayer gamesprovided platforms for the students to use speech to engage inreciprocal conversations, to share information, to make requests,to give commands and to direct others. Additionally, screen-basedwritten texts were used to attract the attention of others, sendmessages, communicate rules and maintain engagements withothers within the students’physical and virtual worlds.Furthermore, the findings showed that online multiplayer gamessupported the students’uses, interpretations and mirroring ofgestures for social interactions. The findings have implications forproviding opportunities to support social interactions inmultimodal ways that social spaces in face-to-face and offlinecontexts do not allow. The findings offer implications for targetingthe students’interests in online multiplayer games to supporttheir capacity to initiate and sustain social interactions in inclusiveeducational settings.


Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education

Document Type

Open Access Journal Article

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Open Access

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Communication Commons