World's first accessible games suite launches

UK hospice receives tech to help disabled kids

Children's charity SpecialEffect has opened a dedicated accessible games suite the first of its kind at a UK hospice, helping youngsters enjoy videogames regardless of physical disabilities.

The purpose-built facility at Helen and Douglas House in Oxfordshire offers a range of accessible gaming devices, from switches to eye-control, with staff receiving specialised training to maximise the positive impact of the technology.

The launch is a major milestone in the charity's Game For Helen project, named after a regular visitor to the hospice, a young girl with a rare metabolic disorder that prevents her from controlling her body well enough to use traditional gaming controllers.

"Throughout the Game for Helen project, my team have worked tirelessly to raise the funds to provide both the technology and expertise to enable the widest possible range of children to find a way into the games they like most," said SpecialEffect director Dr Mick Donegan.

He added: "Helen, the young person after whom the project was named, is now able to play her favourite games using either of two gaze-controlled computers. I would like to say a huge thank you to all those who have generously supported this ground-breaking project."

"The value of the expertise which SpecialEffect have brought to Helen & Douglas House is immense," commented Helen & Douglas spokesman David Pastor. "As a result of SpecialEffect's involvement many more children and young adults are able to use bespoke equipment and games to their benefit."

Helen & Douglas House offers support to children and young adults with severe life-shortening conditions.

The launch of the gaming suite marked the culmination of a successful year for SpecialEffect, in which it also won the official support of industry charity GamesAid, demoed its technology to the general public at Eurogamer Expo, and earlier this month received a donation of 23,000 from money raised at the Intellect Annual Charity Ball.

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Latest comments (3)

Glen Elliott Partner/Head of Sales, European Game League7 years ago
Great Charity and run by fantastic people, highly recommend people pop by their site and give support.
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Graham Simpson Tea boy, Collins Stewart7 years ago
Agree. I've seen the positive impact of a PS2 on my neighbour's son who has learning difficulties. The gaming industry should embrace these sort of activities. It makes a real difference to these children.
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Finlay Thewlis Studying Game Design & Production Management, University of Abertay Dundee7 years ago
this should be how games are portrayed in our media, rather than the other week's panorama episode.
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