Blindfold Games: One Boy’s Story

I received this email from Stuart Beveridge. who works with visually impaired children in Scotland.

xBox control

In April, I began working with an eleven year old boy who had lost his sight last year. He was playing soccer with his friends, fell while chasing the ball and was rushed into hospital.  He had suffered a brain infection from the fall and was in a coma.

When he woke up, he had lost his sight and speech. After several months of speech therapy, he regained his language skills, but his sight would not return. His favorite activity – xBox video games – was no longer possible: those games are not accessible to blind people.  The boy’s parents contacted me for help, and I immediately thought of the Blindfold Games.

“I first showed him Blindfold Dominoes; he was struggling to master the basics of VoiceOver on his iPhone, and was often lost when he was trying to navigate the different screens.  The challenge was to find a simple way of teaching him the basics and giving him the confidence to perform the gestures more accurately and effectively. “Blindfold Dominoes, come on down!”

We did a full lesson on Dominoes, encouraging him to play the game when he could. I emphasized that this game, once learned, would give him the grounding he needed to enable him to navigate and use basic VoiceOver gestures successfully.

Two weeks later, the change in him  was unbelievable. Not only did he master the game, but now listens to YouTube for entertainment, sets reminders for his school work and hospital appointments, and uses FaceTime to keep in contact with his friends.

Another element of Dominoes is the two finger double tap gesture, which is used to “pass” when you can’t play a domino. VoiceOver uses this gesture to play and pause music and is a quick way to answer or end phone calls. Without Blindfold Dominoes, I don’t know how he would have managed; in his words: “it makes the iPhone less boring!”

I have just introduced him and his visually impaired friends to Blindfold Bowling. It’s a step up from Blindfold Dominoes, and he’s learning the sounds, audio cues and feedback from the game. Within ten minutes of playing, they were competing with each other for a bag of Mars Bars.  All went home with smiles on their faces.

Your games have transformed his life.  He realizes that he can still have fun playing games and participate in social activities with all his friends: sighted and visually impaired.



Advertisements

One comment on “Blindfold Games: One Boy’s Story

  1. saying the xbox games are not accessible is a little untrue. I who am blind can play games like mortal Kombat and Injustice: gods among us all by sound. granted they’re not accessible in the way you would think but they are playable with a little patience. It is my hope that larger specctrum games such as some of the roleplaying games will be made accessible once game creators find out about more blind pople playing xbox.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s