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Makers Making Change Partners With Cerebral Palsy Alberta to Provide Adaptive Gaming

We’ve had the honour of hosting a number of successful Adaptive Gaming events with Cerebral Palsy Alberta over the past year.

“A lot of our clients are very social, and not only do they enjoy getting together in-person, but they love gaming,” says Christy Bangen, Program and Community Engagement Liaison for Cerebral Palsy Alberta. “Even those who weren’t into gaming at all, participated fully, just being there, socializing, and enjoying the camaraderie.”

Cerebral Palsy Alberta supports Albertans with disabilities, including but not limited to cerebral palsy, with a variety of social inclusion programs and support services. They have a wide range of therapeutic and recreational programs, including gardening, music therapy, and aqua therapy.

The most recent adaptive gaming event was held on February 21st in Calgary, and saw 16 Cerebral Palsy Alberta participants take part, along with family and caregivers. After a presentation on Adaptive Gaming, the participants got it to try it for themselves, taking in a variety of Adaptive Gaming set-ups on various consoles, playing with each other, ending with a Wii Bowling showdown.

“It was incredible seeing just the looks on their faces and their smiles, knowing that they could participate,” says Christy.

“The social aspect of gaming for the individuals that we serve is paramount. Whether it’s in a small group, or with a family member, they can participate with confidence. Then, looking at the larger groups that we have at these events, it’s total socialization and acceptance.”

For one participant, learning about Adaptive Gaming meant achieving a longtime ambition to play video games with her family.

Savannah has cerebral palsy, as well as a brain injury. She is non-verbal, has mobility issues, and uses a wheelchair. While she has use of her left hand, her right hand has limited use due to paralysis.

Ever since she was a child, Savannah has wanted to play video games with her brother. When the Wii first came out, her brother bought one thinking they’d be able to play together. However, the Wii’s motion sensor controls didn’t work with her wheelchair.

At the Cerebral Palsy Alberta Adaptive Gaming events, Savannah was able to play a variety of games with assistive technology and adaptive controls. First the first time she was able to play the games she had always wanted — not just watch, but actually play.

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