“You've made a middle-aged man feel like a child!”

Rodney has cerebral palsy and has very limited use of his left hand, so playing many of the games he loves on his Xbox with a standard controller is difficult. But an adapted gaming setup loan devised by our specialist assessment team has given him a new lease of gaming freedom.

He’d started looking for a one-handed controller when he’d found out about Microsoft’s Xbox Adaptive Controller and its potential to be an important part of an accessible gaming solution, but he was unsure of the best way to use it to maximise his own gaming abilities. An online search for further help led him to SpecialEffect, and we put him in touch with Joe and Frankie from our team.

“Joe then emailed to request more information on myself and the challenges I was experiencing, and a video call assessment was arranged,” he said. “I couldn’t hide my excitement that this new venture might make my dreams come true.”

During the video call, Joe and Frankie identified equipment options from our extensive assistive technology loan library that had the best potential to extend Rodney’s gaming abilities. “I outlined my challenges and they had realistic solutions,” he said. “Buddy buttons, joysticks and a Trabasack tray… I know, I’d never heard of one either!”

“Rodney’s able to access the right-hand side of his controller really well,” said Joe, “So we suggested mounting it onto a Velcro-covered wedge on a lap tray. This meant he could access the right hand side of the controller without having to take its weight, freeing up his left hand.”

“He has good movement in his left arm and we felt a larger joystick would work, so we suggested an UltraStik plus a couple of button switches by his right hand, which act as the left bumper and trigger.”

Our team sent the loan setup to Rodney along with instructions covering the correct connection and configuration of the equipment with his Xbox for the games he wanted to play. They followed up with a call to check on his progress and found it was working really well for him, but he was missing having a sprint button. They sent out a small ultralight switch, which he’s attached to the joystick.

“Any problems I identified were fed back to Joe and the team so we could work together to come up with a viable solution,” he said. “I’ve now played numerous amounts of games including Destiny, Apex Legends, Shadow of the Tomb Raider and nearly all of the Battlefield series. I’m making up for lost time and challenging myself more and more each day: I know practice will improve my skills and abilities. Playing with my son puts a smile on my face every day now, because a few months ago it was only a dream.”

“Thank you for making a middle-aged man feel like a child!”

Our team will be on hand to offer further online specialist support as Rodney takes on more gaming challenges, and we’re looking forward to meeting him in person if we’re needed as soon as we’re able to.

Under the current circumstances, online assessment and support is proving to be an effective alternative way to provide our life-changing support and one that’s enabling us to continue to bring fun and inclusion to many people like Rodney, so please do get in touch if you think we can help.

Below: Rodney concentrating hard on his games with his adapted gaming setup. The Trabasack lap tray is Velcro-covered and holds the components in place. He’s positioned the small extra yellow switch on the base of the joystick for sprinting.

Man using adapted gaming setup