We're all able to comprehend some of the core challenges of living with a disability, even if we don't have one ourselves. Broad concepts like being unable to access certain facilities or arrange transportation are widely understood. However, there are many smaller, day-to-day challenges those of us without disabilities simply don't consider. For example, our own company was founded when our co-founder Carol realized that there simply weren't any options for stylish, designer CarryAll bags that truly worked on walkers, wheelchairs and other mobility devices. Our founders saw a need to provide a product that no one else offered, and HDS Medallion was born. This concept isn't limited to products, however. There are also many popular hobbies that may not be inclusive to those with disabilities. Video gaming is a prime example, and that's where the AbleGamers Foundation comes into play.
The AbleGamers Foundation firmly believes that video gaming can enrich your life, and there's plenty of research to support that concept. We've come a long way from the old adage that "video games will rot your brain." While all things must be used in moderation, studies have proven that video games improve hand-eye coordination, problem-solving skills, and much more. With the dramatic increase of online gaming over the past decade, games also provide a social network to many people who may otherwise feel left out. With all of these benefits to be had, shouldn't people with disabilities have the same access to the fun? AbleGamers believes they do, and they're dedicated to making sure that the industry is as inclusive as possible.
The AbleGamers Foundation uses a three-step approach to their mission. The first step is outreach. While there are countless gaming communities, AbleGamers maintains the largest portal for gamers with disabilities on the planet. Bringing together disabled gamers from all over the world isn't just about providing a great opportunity to make friends. It also sends a loud and clear message to game developers that this community is massive, it's active, and deserves to be considered during the development of new titles.
The second step to their approach follows the same lines. It's not enough to the AbleGamers Foundation to simply ensure game developers are aware of this community. AbleGamers also provides consultation to any game developer, regardless of size. This consultation service is free of charge, and is designed to help ensure that every game is as accessible as possible. AbleGamers has dubbed this approach "Includification," and have even launched a separate site detailing practical game accessibility guidelines. If you or someone you know has any interest in being part of the video game industry, Includification.com has a wealth of information on how to best make sure your game can be enjoyed by as many people as possible.
The third and final step in their approach involves providing grants to children, adults, and veterans with disabilities. Depending on the disability, adaptive gaming equipment may be required to play. That equipment can be very expensive, as much if it is custom-made for the individual who needs it. These grants are just another way that AbleGamers help provide access to people who may otherwise never have the opportunity to join the fun.
While we've touched on the general benefits of video gaming, there's one in particular that truly resonates with the disabled community. As a society, we love entertainment because it provides a distraction from our day-to-day lives. While this is true of all forms of entertainment, video gaming is by far the prime example. A good movie or television program can take your mind off of the real world, but gaming allows you a level of interaction those simply can't match. That level of interaction is fun for anyone, but for someone with a disability it can mean much more. "I believe that there is nothing more powerful for people with disabilities than the freedom that only video games can provide," AbleGamers founder Mark Barlet explains. "It is an art form that allows us to all run, jump, and be whatever we want to be." For a person who may feel like they have very little freedom in their life due to a disability, this outlet goes above and beyond simple entertainment.
Advocates for video games will tell you that video games aren't just for kids, they're for everyone. They're right, but no organization is more dedicated to making sure that everyone truly means everyone than the AbleGamers Foundation. We tip our hats (and our controllers!) to this fantastic organization for helping to bring fun and entertainment to everyone.
GAMER? GAME DEVELOPER? CARETAKER? CLICK HERE TO VISIT ABLEGAMERS.COM FOR MORE INFORMATION!