Exclusive: Interview with Stuart Duncan, creator of AutCraft

AutCraft is a Minecraft PC server created for children and adults with autism, created by Stuart Duncan (who also has autism). The server is a whitelisted, safe and fun environment for anyone with autism. It currently has over 4,000 players and 1,500 registered members on their site.

The server is run by adults with autism (in Duncan's case), parents of autistic children, or family members of someone with autism. The sever also enlists the help of 'helpers' (children that help others) and 'srhelpers' (adults that help others).

We contacted Duncan (known as AutismFather in-game) and asked him a couple questions.

Q: How did you become interested in Minecraft?

A: I had tried Minecraft very early on, I don't remember what version but there wasn't much to the game at the time. I didn't really see the point of it. As more and more people in my social networks got into it, I saw more and more videos, eventually leading me to discover people like Etho, PaulSoaresJr and some others. I started playing it a bit more here and there, never getting too involved but finally enjoying it at least and then it came out for XBox, which is when I introduced it to my children. All 3 of us played it a lot from that moment on.

Q: How quickly has AutCraft grown since you created it?

A: When I first opened it's doors, I shared a modestly short Facebook status to my personal profile of friends... the first 2 days I received over 750 emails requesting access. Now, 10 months later, there are over 4000 names on the whitelist.

Q: What is the biggest differences between AutCraft and other Minecraft servers?

A: On Autcraft, we have mostly the same rules as any other server but the way in which we enforce them or "punish" for them is completely different. We talk first, asking why they did what they did, if everything is ok with them, we explain why what they did was wrong, how it affects others and so forth. We redirect their attentions to other things, encourage team work and creativity. We even contact and work with their parents when necessary.
Many of these children, due to having autism, have been bullied on other servers, at school, in life and they come to us and act out, expecting more of the same, or they become bullies themselves as a "learned behavior" or they come to us depressed, possibly even suicidal. We work with these children individually and in groups every single day to help them learn proper behaviors, communication skills, team work skills, self esteem and even pride so that one day they will be able to leave Autcraft and return to those other servers and school and have the confidence and abilities to function alongside their peers and be appreciated for their differences rather than be bullied for them.

2014-05-03_18.34.37No doubt AutCraft has made a difference in many kids' (and adults') lives. AutCraft member Cutie_Patutie wrote on the AutCraft site, "No, thank-you AF for creating Autcraft. I used to get bullied on other servers. And now thanks to Autcraft, I feel safe and happy. Everybody is just so friendly."

I visited the server to take some screenshots and the players on the server were very kind in welcoming me, and a few wanted to show me their houses. The community on AutCraft is a very welcoming one.

We wish Duncan, and the rest of the AutCraft team, the best of luck in the future. If you are interested in joining AutCraft, check out their website here for more information.

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12 comments

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Dr0.idninja
May 3, 2014 at 1:44 PM delete

Very interesting

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STD1990
May 3, 2014 at 8:55 PM delete

A little error is in the text. We have one autistic SrHelper at the moment

STD1990 (SrHelper at Autcraft)

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I<3poweredbyredstone
May 4, 2014 at 12:55 AM delete

I'm still trying to get used to the new website layout.

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BurningVShadow
May 4, 2014 at 3:43 AM delete

I apologize for commenting on this post because it is not related, but in future updates at the bottom of the page in Minecraft PE, you have JUne, that might be correct, but the way I learned it is June. That is all.

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Ghgore
May 4, 2014 at 3:47 PM delete

I heard about this on Paulsoarsjr's channel a while back, and now seeing that it has become a very big server makes me happy that there are tons of nice people to moderate and lots of Autistic kids to help. Great article, Corbin :D

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May 6, 2014 at 7:44 AM delete

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Torrent666666
May 6, 2014 at 4:17 PM delete

That is just so sweet ;)

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AidoP
May 21, 2014 at 11:13 AM delete

Am I getting déjà-vu or is this a repeated post?

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May 21, 2014 at 1:17 PM delete

It is, occasionally we like to re-feature content that we think might interest readers.

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March 7, 2016 at 11:23 AM delete

[…] may remember AutCraft from our interview with the creator about two years ago. If you don't, essentially AutCraft is a Minecraft server designed for children (and their […]

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