[games_access] Game Accessibility for Learning Disabled Gamers

d. michelle hinn hinn at uiuc.edu
Fri May 5 07:43:43 EDT 2006

one thing that kevin and i talked a bit about at gdc was that i think 
that there is a bit of a tricky issue with regard to "learning 
disabilities" and "profound learning disabilities." maybe this is 
similar to low vision but still able to see with assistance (through 
technology, etc) and total blindness? what i mean is there are 
disabilities like dyslexia, attention deficit disorder (we can get 
counted under learning disabilities -- it is at our university) that 
often do not involve lower IQ (they say Einstein was Dyslexic for 
instance) and disabilities such as down's syndrome, which result in 
lower IQ.

anyway, all the talk lately about learning disabilities had me 
thinking about the range of disability and how we need to make sure 
we keep in mind that there is this range and clearly define that to 
avoid confusing people who hear "learning disabilities" and think 
"reading disability" and have things like down's syndrome as a 
"cognitive disability."

i'm not an expert on this area but i've noted in the past that some 
people differentiate learning vs cognitive disabilities whereas 
others consider them to be under the same heading. but i think it's 
important for us to note the range when we talk about this issue.

i am, however, an expert in dyslexia by reason of having it myself. 
but i never needed any sort of accommodations and it was diagnosed 
late (when i was about 22) and i love to read -- go figure! some 
would definitely consider me learning disabled because of this but it 
does not have an effect on my IQ. it's more, in my mind, a learning 
"challenge" that i have pushed through. but i don't consider myself 
as a gamer needing particular accessibility features in games but in 
most US school systems i would be labeled "learning disabled."

i guess my whole rambling point of this is that we should make sure 
we clearly define what we are referring to with this particular list 
to avoid confusion. so when we say easier settings and goals, we 
should, perhaps, say what types of learning disabilities that this is 
most likely to help. i'm not speaking for all people with dyslexia 
BUT easier settings and goals would put me to sleep...but at the same 
time I recognize that there is a need for this for the profoundly 
learning disabled.

anyway....sorry for the early morning babble! :)


>Re: http://www.game-accessibility.com/index.php?pagefile=cognitive
>Totally with you on the lack of interest and work re. Learning 
>Disabilities, so great to see your page up and going.
>My background is in working for moderate to severely learning 
>disabled adults, although I still would not say that I am a complete 
>expert. However, obvious things games need:
>Consideration that some players won't be able to read. Icons, photos 
>and symbols can be helpful. See: http://www.symbolworld.org/
>Simplified controls - think Atari VCS days.
>Easier settings and goals.
>All the best,
>Barrie Ellis
>games_access mailing list
>games_access at igda.org

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