Arizona Technology Access Program (AzTAP) – Adaptive Gaming Clinic
A guest blog from: Clayton Guffey, AzTAP Program Director
In the digital age, video gaming has become a growing source of recreation and enjoyment for our society, and it only continues to grow as technology improves and innovative ideas come to light. However, during this time, individuals with complex disabilities may have had limited social and recreational options when compared with their peers, and during the COVID-19 Pandemic to protect their health, these individuals may have had these activities even further curtailed. In the last thirty-plus years since its advent, video gaming has also not been that readily accessible as most mainstream gaming controllers on the market were not specifically accessible or inclusive to individuals with disabilities. However, over the last few years this has begun to change, and more adaptive gaming controls and access options are becoming available. The AzTAP Adaptive Gaming Clinic was created as a way to address the limited social and recreation options and the social isolation exacerbated by the Pandemic, as well as to explore these new accessibility options to help balance the inequity of gaming for Arizona residents with disabilities.
So, if you have a disability and have some gaming experience, or if you are new to gaming and also have some limitations that affect your gaming abilities, where do you start? When you Google “adaptive gaming controller,” literally hundreds of potential search options come up. How do you know for sure what will work or what will connect with your gaming console of choice? Without trialing options, it can be difficult to know if a specific device will work for your (or your clients) specific body or gaming needs. Also, when configuring a gaming system, it can quickly get very expensive when adding up all the individual component parts that may be necessary for an individual to game. Buying items to trial and then returning them if they do not work can be a hassle and take lots of time. The AzTAP Adaptive Gaming Clinic is a FREE service for Arizona residents with disabilities to have hands-on professional support to trial options from our extensive inventory and to find the gaming Assistive Technology that is the best fit for each person’s unique needs. We have partnered with AbleGamer’s Charity, the Arizona-based Believe Beyond Ability nonprofit, and AzTAP’s Arizona Loans for Assistive Technology (AzLAT) financial loan program to assist clients, if necessary, to find the funding to purchase the equipment they need to meet their gaming goals.
The AzTAP Gaming Clinic is a collaborative method where the client can set their own goals, and we provide the knowledge, experience, support, and opportunity to help to achieve them. We strive to address the barriers and create opportunities for independent play for all and hope we can help every participant to reach their gaming goals! So, what does the referral process look like for Arizona residents with disabilities who want to be seen at the AzTAP Gaming Clinic? First, we would schedule an in-person or virtual consultation with our clinical coordinator. At this consultation, we would explore individual needs, gaming experience/preferences, gaming goals, personal resources and then set up a plan to begin trialing or exploring options. Once it has been determined what adaptive equipment and/or options that will work, our staff can assist with locating funding, finding where to purchase the equipment, placing the orders and even assist with home set up to make sure you are ready to game on your own! Our services are not time limited, so our staff can work with you until your gaming goals have been met. The picture above of “Jesse,” a recent highly satisfied client of the AzTAP Gaming Clinic, says it all!
If you would like more information on our gaming clinic and/or adaptive gaming resources, please visit our webpage at the following link: AzTAP Adaptive Gaming Clinic. If you would like to talk with our staff about the gaming clinic or have specific questions not covered on the webpage, please contact us at 602.728.9501 or by email at AzTAPGamingClinic@nau.edu.
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The AT3 Center, the Association of AT Act Programs (ATAP), and the Administration on Community Living (ACL) make no endorsement, representation, or warranty expressed or implied for any product, device, or information set forth in this blog. The AT3 Center, ATAP, and ACL have not examined, reviewed, or tested any product or device hereto referred.