Indigo levels up accessible gaming at ATSA Expo
Jun 27, 2023, 15:00 PM by Matilda Gerrans
“Where do I see accessible gaming going? I just see it going mainstream. So it’s just gaming.”
Indigo Occupational Therapist, Lauren Farrell
Accessible gaming is increasingly moving into the spotlight of assistive technology and may soon become a standard inclusion in gaming production.
Indigo was proud to be principal sponsor of the Perth ATSA Independent Living Expo last month, with Indigo Occupational Therapist Lauren Farrell presenting on accessible gaming as part of the Expo program.
Lauren highlighted the many benefits engaging in gaming can bring and provided some pointers for allied health professionals in working with clients to determine their best approach to accessible gaming.
Lauren has been with Indigo for over 11 years and has recently become more involved in accessible gaming.
“I felt excited about doing the presentation on the topic, because it’s an area that you don’t really get a lot of opportunities to talk about,” she said of her presentation, titled Levelling Up.
“A lot of people are interested in gaming, and it’s a big area of emerging technology that has become more and more inclusive over the past five years.”
During her presentation, Lauren highlighted the importance of ‘knowing your why’, suggesting occupational therapists and allied health professionals explore with clients why they want to game – what purpose does it serve for them, and how will playing the game make them feel?
Finding which games a client wants to play is just as important as determining which gaming system and accessible tech they can use.
“Quite often we think of computer games as just for fun and recreation, but for a lot of people, it is actually a productive activity,” Lauren said.
“It helps with mindfulness, it is important for wellbeing, it can help people experience failure in a safe environment, and it is a skill building task. It is also very social and is productive in terms of facilitating social interactions.”
Knowing your reason for gaming can also apply in other areas of your life, Lauren says. The tools she uses to discover the ‘why’ of gaming can reveal whether you are a risk-taker, adventurous and exploratory, or practical and skill driven – all of which can assist in determining goals in other areas and preferred ways of reaching them.
Visitors to Indigo’s booth at the Expo were able to try out one of Lauren’s favourite pieces of gaming equipment, the Flex Controller.
Thanks to the Channel 7 Telethon Trust Grant, Indigo was able to purchase the Flex Controller which is now available in our Experience Centre for people to test out as part of our Information and Advice appointments.
With the range of adaptive gaming and controllers ever increasing, Lauren believes that accessibility will soon become a standard feature in all gaming technology.
“It is moving towards that universal access, so people are thinking about it as an option a bit more,” she said.
Lauren highlighted this is especially true after the pandemic, when gaming became a source of not only fun and recreation to make isolation more bearable, but also to stay in touch with friends and family, “People understand more about wellbeing, and they don’t just generally view gaming as a recreation, they do view it as a wellbeing and social connection.”
The joy and social connection gaming can bring to those who love it is undeniable, and anyone interested in exploring accessible gaming options can contact our friendly customer service team on 9361 0800 to find out more, or request an appointment with our occupational therapy team.