Apparently architects with children on the Autism spectrum have been reporting to Google that the software is a hit with their kids.
Apparently architects with children on the Autism spectrum have been reporting to Google that the software is a hit with their kids. Newsweek
It turns out that SketchUp, which was acquired by Google from a small Colorado-based startup in 2006, allows people with autism to express their ideas in a visual way—a welcome release for kids who have trouble communicating through speech or writing.
What gives is that many people with autism excel at visual thinking. Studies show they perform exceptionally well on the Block Design Task, part of a standard IQ test, which assesses an individual's ability to recreate a complicated red and white pattern using a set of red and white blocks. "They're able to mentally segment the design into its component parts so they can see where each block would go," says Ellen Winner, a professor of psychology at Boston College, something non-autistic kids have trouble doing. Geraldine Dawson, chief scientific officer for Autism Speaks, a leading autism advocacy group, found that the parents of children with autism have superior spatial abilities on the Block test, too—a gift they may be passing on to their kids. Environment likely plays a role as well, says Dawson. Because children with autism have trouble communicating with people, they tend to spend their time interacting with objects. The end result: the visual portion of their brain becomes highly developed.