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Gaming with my mentally disabled sister-in-law.

Miira Auroora
Finland
Vantaa
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I have a sister-in-law who is mentally disabled. She is 32 years old but she is more or less like a 7 year old child. There are some things that she understands like an adult, like personal hygiene or how to make coffee, but for example things like marriage or money are uncomprehensible to her. She does know how to write but she uses caps only and no commas.

We play board games with her almost every time we see her and I find it to be very good for her. Even though her condition is permanent, she can learn things albeit much slower than people who aren't disabled.

Before we started playing with her she spent most of her time alone doing childrens jigsaw puzzles.

We have played Dixit with her, and she is quite good at guessing but her clues are always too simple. But she enjoys the pictures and the cute bunneeples so I think we'll keep on playing it from time to time.
For some reason though I think the cards from Dixit Odyssey were a bit harder for her. Don't know why.

She likes card games, but needs a lot of help most of the time. She's good at Uno and Skip-bo. We have played Coloretto together and sometimes she really gets it. I think it helps that the cards have no symbols, just colors. She doesn't really know how to be mean to other players but that's all right. I think we could play Zooloretto with her if we made some houserules.

She is not very keen on playing dexterity games because she realises she isn't as good at them as the rest of us. For example, when playing Bamboleo she for some reason is very afraid that she is the one who makes the platter fall. And she has really hard time figuring out where she should take a block from. I guess gravity is too abstract for her to understand.

What amazes me, is that she is very good at Dizios. She usually beats us all. Even with the funky colors and shapes she is very skilled in finding the best spots. She usually wins by a mile. I've been thinking that maybe we could try Carcassonne without the farmers, because she does enjoy the puzzle feature in tile-laying games.

I've also been toying with an idea that we should try Blokus with her. She seems to be good with patterns and colors so maybe if we're patient she could learn to play it. Not competitively of course.

She lives in a dormitory for handicapped people and it's a shame none of the other tenants are as skilled as she. They usually play roll-and-move type of games. She does enjoy those games also but mainly for the social aspect. I really like seeing her get all excited about our game session. I guess doing something that normal people do is really meaningful to her. After all she's had a really hard time coping with the fact that she is handicapped.

When playing games with us I think she gets a feeling of being able to do stuff on her own and not always been told what to do, which is what most of her life is.
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Subscribe sub options Thu Feb 9, 2012 9:46 pm
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