It's more than Accessibility, It's accessing Abilities!

Assistive Tech Blog

Gaming for All

I am always looking for solutions that will level the playing field for all learners. Today’s technologies are opening up opportunities for students to have the tools to support them to become successful learners. These tools not only help them in school but are life long tools that will help them be successful after they leave school. I am also as passionate about finding tools that allow them to enjoy other activities in their life. In a previous post Music for All, I looked at solutions that provided persons of all abilities to be able to create and perform music. Another area I am always looking for solutions in is in the area of gaming.

When I was a teacher in the classroom, one practice I had during my IEP meeting with parents was to ask them one specific question. The question I would ask was, “In the next year. what is one thing you wish your child could do or if there is one thing that could make your lives easier, what would that be"?”. When they answered that question, I would include that in a goal for the year. I had a student in my classroom named Chris who was significantly involved. When I asked his mother what one thing would she like to see, her comment really made an impact with me. Her answer was “I have always wanted Chris to play Nintendo with his brother”. So we adapted one of the old Nintendo controllers with switch jacks so he could use a switch to control the buttons. For his goal, we worked on switch access and switch activation and the tool was the adapted controller. This was a skill he could transfer to other aspects of his life like communication and access to the curriculum. After several months we sent the controller home and now he and his brother could play Nintendo together. When playing his favorite game, his brother would control the helicopter and Chris would run a machine gun. It was an awesome moment watching them play together.

Packed with jack for most of the needed controls.

Packed with jack for most of the needed controls.

You can’t imagine how excited I was to see Microsoft release the Xbox Adapted Controller . I haven’t been able to get my hands on one yet, but the potential for providing opportunities for all gamers really excites me. Looking at the back of the unit, there are a ton of external jacks that provide a whole lot of controls on the controller.

I can’t wait to see it in action. I love the Microsoft Holiday ad that Microsoft ran over Christmas. That commercial captured the same excitement I felt when i watched Chris and his brother play their first Nintendo game together.

Mark Coppin