Game Design with Disability in Mind 5: Intellectual Disability
This is the fifth, and for now final, post in Deborah Southwell’s series on Game Design with Disability in Mind and it covers intellectual disabilities. Previous posts have also covered hearing impairment, colour vision deficiency, and visual impairment and what we can do to make our games more inclusive.
Game Design with Intellectual Disability in Mind
People with disabilities have an established right to be included and to participate in the community. They are more likely to be lonely and socially isolated and to have low social support and low social connectedness. People with intellectual disability are still relatively excluded. They have smaller and less diverse social networks, may face difficulties making friends, and are often unhappy with the friendships they do have. De-institutionalisation (AKA Care in the Community) hasn’t led to real inclusion in the community.
What you can do to include people with intellectual disabilities
Advice from the previous articles int he series also applies, but here are some things that you need to do to include people with an intellectual disability:
- Always focus your communications with the person with a disability, not their support worker/carer.
- Make sufficient lead-in time, where possible, to meet with the family/carers/support workers and to ensure appropriate support is in place:
- meet and get to know the person i.e. you become a familiar person to them
- find out their goals e.g., to come and observe, to be part of the group, to have a role in the game.
- learn about the person’s likes and dislikes, and their daily activities.
- clarify roles and responsibilities of support staff/carers who attend the game with the person
- Familiar support staff /carers:
- usually allowed to come along for free, usually play a strong role in helping the person to participate.
- consider a dedicated Control to support both the person and their support staff/carer to fit into their first few game experiences (not to take over from the support person/carer)
CDDH Fact Sheet Working with People with Intellectual Disabilities in Healthcare Settings
Working with Special Olympic Athletes
Your Guide to Communicating with People with a Learning Disability
https://www.mencap.org.uk/learning-disability-explained/communicating-people-learning-disability – A PDF to download is available on this page.