Wednesday 19 December 2018

Best Board Games for People with Disabilities

My six year old son C was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder ten months ago. It's still a massive learning curve for us, we are still learning how to cope day to day as we go along and have been attending workshops to teach us how to best deal with his behaviours.

As much as I still don't even like to admit it, it is a disability, and we do have to make some adjustments for him as he processes things differently. We know what to do and what not to do as we know what will cause a sensory overload and subsequent meltdown. Although we do need to make these adjustments, we also try to treat him as normally as we possibly can because I don't want to use his autism as an excuse for "naughty" behaviour that has nothing to do with the condition. 

C struggles mostly with social situations and empathy and imagining how others are feeling. Taking turns and waiting are hard for him too. He likes to be in control of situations so he knows exactly what is going to happen. He cannot cope with the unknown. Waiting is a struggle because he prefers to physically see how long something is going to take as he can't imagine what five or ten minutes looks like. 

For as long as I can remember, we have had a family game night. It's something that the four of us can do to spend time together and have fun. There are a few that I don't think he could cope with such a Monopoly simply because of the duration of the game - there's no way he'd sit that long! - so we tend to choose games that are short and hold his attention.

C is a typical six year old boy and loves a bit of toilet humour. I know that these types of games will make him laugh and he actually wants to play them because he finds them so funny. Gooey Louie - who knew that a game where you have to pull bogies out of a giant nose would be so fun? Although there is the unknown aspect of when the brain will squeak and pop out, he got used to it quite quickly and anticipates it. We do make a minor adjustment and remove the black coloured one as it frightens him.

Poopyhead is another one that C really enjoys. He is really good at remembering sequences and the aim here is to place cards in order; toilet, poo, wipe, wash hands. The loser has to attach a rubber poo on their head. This game helps his memory, having to remember what card comes next, but adds the funny aspect with the poos.

Pull My Finger is probably C's ultimate favourite. Each player spins and pulls the monkeys finger. It's bottom will expand then fart unexpectedly. Again, he anticipates this and it is a little better as he can physically see the bottom getting bigger and so knows when it is going to happen. This one is great as it is fast paced but also encourages him to take turns and wait for others to have their turn.

Disney Guess The Film is one that is not only great for C but for the whole family. We are massive Disney fans and this game shows a little part of a scene and you need to guess what film it is to win a point. C can recall things very quickly with precision (I feel like he may have an eidetic memory) so he always excels at this one.

5 Second Rule is a fun one that even trips me up! Each player has five seconds to name three things from a category that is chosen such as "3 things you see at the beach". It encourages C to think logically and quickly. Sometimes he does give a bit of a silly answer under pressure but rather than getting annoyed, we've found that he finds it quite funny instead.

Finally, Jenga is a game that I originally thought might be hit or miss. It's a classic so I'm sure it needs no introduction but C takes his time to properly think about the consequence of his move and it proves to work well for him!

As he gets older, I would love to introduce more grown up games to him such as Cluedo or even Chess to see if he enjoys those and how we can adapt them to his capabilities. Board games can be great for people with disabilities and can help with the brain. I have focused here on our experiences with C and ASD but board games can help many people with different types of disability, some of which can be seen on the Bathing Solutions blog.

(This is a sponsored post.)
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