Dealing with disabilities in your games

Bipolar14

Hello guys (and gals)! We came across a unique question the other day: How do you deal with disabilities at your table. Being disabled myself, I have had to deal with it from a very personal perspective. I also know that my players have been very open to dealing with my issues. That brings me to this post. How do you deal with disabled people at your table. Well this is the way I do it:

1.) Be understanding: Understand that the person who is disabled needs accommodations or special needs. Don’t assume that they are just trying to “get attention” or “use their disability” (not that I see this a lot, but those are common complaints in the world).

2.) Be willing to work with them: Be willing to do what is needed to help them feel included at your table. If that means you need to meet at a location that is handicap accessible or even have a break during the game so that someone who easily fatigued can get a break. I have seen a lot of cool ways to work a disabled person into a game.

3.) Don’t assume: Don’t ever assume that you know what they are feeling. Just because someone shares an issue with you (say PTSD or bipolar) doesn’t mean that the two of you will experience it the same way. Be open minded to the issues that the person is feeling.

4.) Be kind: This is the big one! Don’t be a jerk to them because they have an issue. Be nice and open to them. Some of the coolest people I know are disabled, and they can bring a lot to your tables.

That is it for me. How do you handle dealing with the disabled at your table? As always, make it constructive and don’t be a dick.

 

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2 thoughts on “Dealing with disabilities in your games

  1. Good advice. I’ve never had to deal with the issue at the game table, but as a professor, and the advice is equally applicable. I had a student w/ a disability that affected his speech (and who came to class with a sign language interpreter, whom he used some of the time, but not al of the time.) This student asked a LOT of questions and the process of answering them was sometimes time consuming, and back-to-back questions sometimes took the wind out of my sails and slowed the pace of my lecture in a way that I found frustrating. But in the end, the experience taught me a lot about patience and understanding and made me a better teacher.

  2. Glad to see such efforts! In case you didn’t already know about this, regarding RPGs for people with various disabilities, especially those in wheelchairs and accessibility to supportive RPG environments please see this: http://www.rpgresearch.com and especially http://www.rpgtrailer.com (for the Wheelchair Friendly RPG Trailer). I have been designing and implementing (providing for free) role-playing game program plans for/with many different populations, including but not limited to: Autism Spectrum (ASD/PDD), brain injury recovery (stroke, TBI, etc.), at-risk youth, cerebral palsy, the Deaf community, and many others. Unfortunately all too often people don’t think about the many factors that can interfere with people being able to participate and benefit from role-playing gaming. Trying to address this as much as possible, so I also voted for creation of, and volunteered to fill the role of, Accessibility Advocate for the local Spokane convention, Spocon.

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