The Positive Effects of Video Games (Particularly on People With Disabilities)
Video games have been a topic of debate for many years, with some people arguing that they are a waste of time and have negative effects on players. However, recent research has shown that video games can have many different positive effects on players, particularly on those with disabilities (PWD).
Whether a player has disabilities or not, video games have been shown to help with things like making friends, learning about interesting topics, feeling like a part of a community, discovering new interests, and more. In this article, we’ll explore these and other positive effects of video games, with a focus on the greatest benefits for people with disabilities.
How Do Video Games Positively Impact Players, Especially Those With Disabilities?
Video games have long been thought of as simply a form of entertainment, but they also provide many other benefits to those who play them. Here are some of the positive effects of video games for PWD:
- Improved Cognitive Abilities – One of the most significant benefits of video games is that they can help people with disabilities improve their cognitive abilities. Playing video games requires players to use various cognitive skills, including memory, attention, and problem-solving. For people with disabilities—such as ADHD, dyslexia, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and more—video games can be an effective way to improve these skills. For example, playing games that require players to remember patterns or solve puzzles can help improve memory and problem-solving skills. Because of this, video games can be important learning tools that can provide additional ways to improve cognitive functions.
- Enhanced Motor Skills – Another one of the positive impacts of video games is that they can help people with physical and developmental disabilities improve their motor skills. Many video games require players to use fine motor skills—such as hand-eye coordination—which can be beneficial for people with disabilities such as cerebral palsy or multiple sclerosis. In addition, some video games are designed specifically for people with disabilities, such as those that use motion-sensing technology or adaptive controllers. These games, in particular, can help players improve their physical abilities and locomotor skills.
- Therapy and Rehabilitation – Video games can also be useful therapy and rehabilitation tools for PWD. Many therapists and healthcare professionals use video games as part of their treatment plans for patients with disabilities. For example, virtual reality games can be used to help patients with physical disabilities practice movements and improve their motor skills. Games requiring players to perform specific actions—such as reaching or grasping—can help patients with mobility impairments improve their physical abilities.
- Entertainment – One of the major positives of playing video games is that they can be a source of enjoyment and entertainment for people with disabilities. As mentioned earlier, video games have often been thought of primarily as a form of entertainment. But that entertainment is also important and beneficial. Many people with disabilities face numerous challenges in their daily lives and may have limited opportunities for leisure activities. Video games can provide a fun and engaging way for PWD to relax and enjoy themselves, which can positively impact their mental health and well-being. It can also help them forget about the things they have difficulty doing or need assistance with, allowing them to be fully independent and cope with their disabilities.
- Increased Socialization – There are also many positive social effects of video games for people with disabilities. Many people with disabilities face social isolation and may have difficulty making friends or finding social activities they can participate in. Video games can provide a way for people with disabilities to connect with others who share their interests and form social connections. Online gaming communities can provide a sense of belonging and support for people with disabilities, which can have a positive impact on their mental health and well-being.
It’s clear that video games can have many positive effects on players, particularly on those with disabilities. They can help improve cognitive and motor skills, be useful tools for therapy and rehabilitation, deliver entertainment and enjoyment, and provide social support that helps to reduce social isolation.
As technology continues to advance, we can expect to see even more innovative video games that cater to the needs and interests of people with disabilities. It is important to recognize the potential benefits of video games and to encourage their use as a tool for improving the lives of people with disabilities.
At AbleGamers, our mission is to create opportunities that enable play in order to combat social isolation, foster inclusive communities, and improve the quality of life for people with disabilities. We know that video games can be the perfect gateway to community participation, lifelong friendships, and unforgettable shared experiences. That’s why it’s crucial to ensure these experiences are developed with accessibility as a priority and inclusion as the goal.
We are working every day to make sure people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else for positive experiences through play. With our nearly two decades as pioneers in inclusive play, thousands of hours working with people with disabilities, and leading developers and engineers, we create opportunities for players to find inclusive places to play and connect with family and friends. Learn more about what we do here, or help continue our crucial work by making a monetary donation or purchasing something from our shop!