Introduction – Dyspraxia and Gaming:
Previously on my blog, I brought up how video games and gaming can help those with Dyspraxia. Gaming, in general, gets a bad name because of the negative stigma that is thrown in its direction. I’ve decided to do a page all about how gaming helps those with Dyspraxia, not only is this page helping those with dyspraxia but help show how awesome gaming can be! BUT just for your knowledge Video Games does help Dyspraxia but only in certain aspects, it shouldn’t be used as the only means of helping. Just remember that it can help Dyspraxia but each individual is different and so results will vary.
As many of you are aware or will be aware, those with Dyspraxia main problem is coordination and sequence problems. However other problems can be helped through games and gaming.
With a controller in hand and repetitive use the Dyspraxic person can be taught to be able to coordinate fingers (as some games require multi-button presses or holding a certain button while pressing another-for example the analogue stick and then pressing the fire button) once they accomplish the simple task they are rewarded in-game as it does what they, hopefully, wanted to do. Some controllers that require movement (For example, PlayStation Move, Xbox Kinect, Nintendo Wii etc) helps train the gross motor movement and also spacial awareness.
Another problem is sequences, or remembering a sequence. Most games follow a sequence, others are simple and others are more complex. Some games require you to press certain coloured buttons in order to rack up points or solve a puzzle by the means of a sequence; something like battling a cliché boss battle.This, in turn, helps coordination but each successful hit rewards the player with points and possibly a star/medal rating for them to work towards and beat. With continuous play this can help train them to learn the sequence and with this knowledge apply it to the outside world.
While I love to problem solve, some Dyspraxics may find their concentration level isn’t high enough to focus or they struggle to solve a problem. By playing games they can learn to overcome problems within a game by trying to get a certain treasure or taking down a certain enemy. Seeing as in-game they have the visual prompt of the reward (for example a treasure high up on a ledge) it gives them something to aim for rather than an unknown outcome ( For example, His/her light bulb has stopped working-how can they fix this?). With video games they can build a foundation problem solving to work upon.
Interaction with real people (practical):
With modern technology, you can now easily play against or with other people across the globe. Many Dyspraxics feel shut off from the world however with video game multiplayer they have a chance to play alongside others and build up electronic friends, effectively giving them a social life with others who enjoy the same things/games as them. It is best you keep a close watch on children when they are online as I probably don’t need to explain the dangers of strangers and messages. There’s always invite a friend over to play on the same console though. (We gamers call it split-screen). Also, some games promote social activity, such as social media games/competitions and a game I think everyone is familiar with: Pokémon Go! (More on that game later, it deserves a whole chapter to itself)
Interaction with real people (theory):
Most games nowadays have a ‘select your own responses’ so you play a story and the player can choose a response to when the other characters interact. Then players can see consequences for actions or said things helping them understand more of how the world communicates. What is deemed bad, and what is acceptable. While it is good video games can be misleading with this so it makes a good start but not as the main focus.
Achievement and motivation:
Got through a level? Mini-boost to self-esteem! While it can work the other way if they get rewards in-game it can help them feel accomplished rather than feeling like a complete failure. With this more things can be built upon it. Motivation has to come from somewhere, so start off small and work upwards!
Indirectly to video gaming itself. But if you need to get some motivation into someone then use video games as a reward system if they do something right then they get a spell on their game! Or use it to motivate yourself to do something
There are a whole stack of games to test the educational side of life from science, to mathematics. from languages to geography it’s all there and if they have fun too then it’s a great bonus! While the classroom may seem daunting and confusing, with a game that rewards correct answers can help with motivation. (Works with anyone, even those who aren’t Dyspraxic of course) but for those who struggle a bit more than everyone else it may just be enough to help them understand.
Homework that is gaming! Win-win situation!
Could there possibly be anything else?:
Maybe there are more ways gaming can help someone with Dyspraxia? If the above has been something you have found that has helped you in some way then please voice it in a comment, I would be interested in hearing them! or if you have a different way that gaming has helped you then please do tell, and it could end up on the above list! This concludes this page on how gaming helps those with Dyspraxia. In general anyway, how about something more specific now?
But wait there is one more topic I like to cover:
There are countless games out there, each one having their own benefits to individuals. The thing with Pokémon Go is it has done wonders for a lot of people and rightly deserves a chapter on my page.
Hold on, what is Pokémon Go?:
Pokémon GO is a mobile game based on the hit franchise originally created by the companies GameFreak and Nintendo. The game has a simple map interface (powered by GoogleMaps) and by walking around the character moves too. As you walk around you may find Pokémon pop up for you to catch. You can use these Pokémon in battles against Gyms in hopes of taking over it. There is so much to the game that I can’t cover it fully without it dominating this page, so if you would like to know more check out their site: Pokémon Go Home
How does Pokémon Go help the Dyspraxic Community?
I grew up on the original Pokémon games and with Pokémon Go’s release back in 2016 it was a great opportunity to visit some nostalgia, but with new opportunities and secrets. While I can talk a lot about Pokémon, given the opportunity, I have to keep this on topic – which is Dyspraxia and Gaming! There have been various posts and videos already on how Pokémon GO has helped the Autistic Community and with Dyspraxia sharing several traits with its cousin those benefits can help us too.
When it comes to social situations us, with Dyspraxia, can have trouble with it. Pokémon GO helps communication and bring people together. How? For starters with the Gyms and Raids, it brings together teamwork to help take it down. With a group of people with the same interest gather together in one spot it makes social interaction easier. On top of that Pokémon Go became a massive topic and that made it easier to engage with people. Whether you had a strong opinion for or against the game starting a conversation was made so much easier. A colleague I used to work with still plays Pokémon GO and many times an opening conversation was about new updates and what we were up to on the game. It also turned into a civil rivalry of who can out do the other! I was tracking a specific Pokémon called Onix sometime back on my return home from work and I bumped into someone also looking out for it – so I teamed up with a stranger to find it and catch it – which we did!
Motivation to go outside and explore:
It’s easy when you have anxiety towards the outside world to actually not go out at all. With this game it helps to motivate to go outside, finding nearby creatures and Gyms to take down, take over, or strengthen up. Also with on the onscreen map with waypoints (unless you live in the middle of nowhere), it’s easier to know where you’re going and can help train to plan a journey out.The game has helped several people who normally have meltdowns in the outside world cope better, so much so that it is actually received so much praise from parents of Autistic children. When you have parents praise a video game, you know you’ve done something unique!
Having achievements, no matter how small, is a great boost to self-esteem. Whether it is catching a Pokémon, beating a Gym, hatching an egg, or evolving a Pokémon – little achievements and a sense of progression sure does help.
The world can be full of anxiety triggers, strong light, loud noises, crowds, etc. with a game designed for out and about travels it helps distract away from those triggers. In general, it can help distract away from anxiety for a little bit. I had a job interview once and I was nervous because I don’t like new places and people (weirdly the interview itself is fine) and to help distract away from that a quick go on Pokémon Go.
More positivity towards gaming and its benefits:
Gaming has received harsh criticism and backlash over the years This is the thing, many of us have something that helps us cope with everyday life. Whether that is gaming, reading, walking, sport, etc. the big problem is that gaming receives so much negative stigma that it’s difficult to have it as a livelihood without it coming under fire. With Pokémon Go being a very positive game, people are now encouraging others to play it. Those who have difficulties can play games that help them without negative remarks thrown their way.
Pokémon battles can be viewed as an extremely complicated Rock, Paper, Scissors match. Each Pokémon has a specific type or two, and each type has different strengths and weaknesses against another. Currently, there are 18 different types which are; Normal, Water, Grass, Fire, Electric, Flying, Ground, Rock, Ice, Poison, Bug, Ghost, Fighting, Psychic, Dragon, Dark, Steel, and Fairy. As an example, Water type attacks do more damage against Fire Pokémon and Fire type attacks do less damage against Water Pokémon. There are complicated charts that outline the multiple advantages and disadvantages of each type, which gets even more complex when a Pokémon has 2 types.
The fighting mechanics in Pokémon Go is much simpler than that of the console versions. In Pokémon Go, when it comes to battling, you pick a team of 6 Pokémon to use against an opponent. By understanding what Pokémon you need to use to get the best chance of winning is exactly how problem-solving is used and is good practice for when a real life problem needs to be tackled.