Video Games and Kids with Special Needs

Kids and video gamesMy kids are obsessed with video games. When they aren’t begging to play them, they sit and watch videos of other people playing them, or they are talking to their friends about them. A while ago I wrote an article on the benefits of Wii for kids with special needs, including using it for therapy and exercise. Virtual settings also allow kids with physical challenges to do things on screen that their bodies make impossible in the real world. But the challenges some kids face may prevent them from participating in gaming, leaving them left out of yet another popular activity and distancing them from their peers.

Since there are so many variations of special needs there is no one size fits all solution. Challenges with gross motor skills, fine motor skills or visual processing all require different accommodations. But awareness of the challenges is growing and more and more adaptations are becoming available to the gamer with special needs. posts game reviews in terms of the accessibility of the game, as well as information on assistive technology. The AbleGamers Foundation is leading the “includification” movement, working with game developers to allow games to be enjoyed by as many players as possible. They also provide grants to gamers who are in need of assistive technology. was started by a man with autism who has a son with autism. It is a safe environment where bullying is not tolerated. It can be a great way for kids with autism to develop social connections without having to try to interpret facial expressions or body language cues. It also offers a place where the very skills that set them apart from the general population will be valued.

A DIY option is the Makey Makey kit. If your child has fine motor issues this kit allows you to turn larger items into gaming controls, making it easier to play without fussing with those tiny buttons.

Although screen time needs to be limited and monitored, with these accommodations video games can bring benefits to kids with special needs in both the virtual and real world.

Photo credit: sean dreilinger; CC license

About the Author

Rosie Reeves is a writer and mother of three; including one with special needs. She works side-by-side with her daughter’s therapists, teachers and doctors. Rosie has also served as the Los Angeles Special Needs Kids Examiner. She can be reached at Rosie is a member of the PedSafe Expert team


7 Responses to “Video Games and Kids with Special Needs”

  1. Justin says:

    Yes, I agree. Special kids will have great benefits with video games. They can learn different skills depending on the game they are playing.

    The Ultimate Video Game Designer Guide

    • Stefanie Zucker Stefanie Zucker says:

      It’s great when game designers create with special kids in mind. Everyone benefits! Thanks Justin for stopping by 🙂

  2. Dean says:

    Great article here! These games can benefit those with special needs tremendously. I was unaware that there were specific sites tailored to those with special needs. I will be sure to check these sites out and report back with my experience. Thanks so much for posting!

  3. Brian says:

    Its awesome to see video games helping those with special needs. I grew up on video games and they really helped me with fine motor skills and attention spans and focus. They can also be great for community if you play with other people. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Campbell says:

    Awesome article! These diversions can profit those with uncommon needs colossally. I was unconscious that there were particular locales custom-made to those with extraordinary needs. I will make certain to look at these locales and report back with my experience. Much appreciated such a great amount for posting!

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