The primary focus of the AbleGamers Peer Counseling program is to engage, understand, and educate people with the knowledge and skills needed to harness gaming for social outcomes, combat social isolation, and join a community of millions of players worldwide.
Our Peer Counseling team consists of players with disabilities and occupational professionals who work together to find the best solutions to enable play. An AbleGamers’ Peer Counselor is an AbleGamers team member who gets to know the player with disabilities and to understand their unique needs. With the information, we identify the accessibility hurdles and provide resources and suggestions in order to facilitate play and engagement in the community spaces around gaming to create rich social experiences.
Peer Counseling Process:
We invite the player to lead the session(s), to share with us the experience they seek and their goals. We help to uncover a player’s strengths (and challenges) so that we can lead them down a path of success. We get to know the environment and the resources at their disposal. We work toward individualized solutions that will allow the player to start playing. We lead players into rich social communities to explore amazing worlds and stories, combat social isolation, and join millions of players worldwide.
AbleGamers’ Peer Counseling program was designed to explore accessibility barriers to play with the end goal of providing individualized solutions. To that end, peer counselors spend as much time as necessary, and figuring out the gaming setup for people with disabilities is extremely time-consuming. Peer counseling sessions serve as a starting point for granting the hardware, custom controllers, and specialized equipment/technologies that can be prohibitively expensive.
AbleGamers peer counseling sessions may start with a discussion about accommodations and accessibility ideas to get someone ready to game, but the conversations go a lot deeper than that. We know people with disabilities can often face stigma, ableism, ignorance, and even outright confusion when seeking out social support. Social support gives a solid foundation for people with disabilities to draw on as they enter the world of gaming. It builds an emotional safety net to combat social isolation and troubleshoot problems. By emphasizing peer counseling, AbleGamers fosters communities where people with disabilities can fully participate and are empowered to share their experiences. It allows them to learn, play, contribute, build networks, and directly influence change in the gaming industry and beyond.
Powered by AbleGamers
First launched in early 2016 and as part of Peer Counseling, AbleGamers partners with various organizations, including hospitals and rehabilitation centers to reach many more players and provide players with a nearby location to assist in setup to enter the world of gaming. Partner organizations are powered by AbleGamers through initial and ongoing support/training for staff on best practices in adaptive gaming and donation of specialized controllers and other devices.
With the support of gamers and sponsors, AbleGamers aims to increase the size and frequency of future partners.