We tweeted last week about our visit to Aaron, a remarkable gamer with some of the most accomplished skills we’ve seen for a long while. He plays mainly with his feet because of his muscular dystrophy, with the addition of some small finger switches. It’s a setup that Nomi worked out for him a while ago.
His mum Julie is just as much of a superstar as well, and she’s in no doubt of the positive impact that his gaming continues to have for the whole family.
“After Nomi (one of our specialist therapists) came out and assessed him it was, like, overnight it transformed his life, it’s made him so happy.”
“Before that, he was still playing but trying to use the controllers was quite stressful. Every few seconds we had to reposition his hands. He was getting sad because there were buttons he couldn’t reach, where he used to have a little more movement.”
“You feel bad, you feel helpless, because it’s not the sort of thing you can just go down the high street and buy an instant solution for.”
“But with this setup the impact is enormous. I still do have to reposition things sometimes but he’s happy all the time. Like any parent, if your child’s happy, you’re happy. And it frees up time for us parents and carers as well.”
“I feel really happy as well because it’s about his independence. He hasn’t got the same sort of social side of life as most teenagers. My other kids would have been out and about at his age with their friends, but he doesn’t have that because he can’t go anywhere without a carer, and that’s a big restriction on things like conversation and developing relationships. His friends can’t really go up to him and start talking too freely.”
“But the gaming gives back that huge social plus – the headphones go on and he’s chatting with his friends. He can talk openly about stuff he wouldn’t talk about in front of me or other adults, and he can also talk to friends with disabilities, swapping experiences.”
“Everyone needs that banter.”
It’s really reassuring to hear Julie echoing the thoughts of other people we support. We’re concentrating hard on the practicalities of getting people back in the game, and it’s lovely to know that there are so many more benefits to what we’re doing.