The goal of this project was to design a play activity that can be played by able-bodied children and physically disabled children in their own environment. Children with physical disabilities often have difficulties connecting with other children during play activities due to their limited physical abilities and rejection by able-bodied children. Nowadays, a lot of attention is paid to accessibility in play (the removal of physical barriers), while little attention is paid to inclusion (the removal of social barriers). A critical consequence of having a disability is peer isolation, and thus, enabling inclusion can improve the quality of life and happiness of the disabled child.
The Uniekies Game introduces disabled children as heroes with special powers who are to be admired. Able-bodied children can also become heroes by dressing up in special suits and training their powers. For example, Bumper symbolizes a child in a wheelchair who cannot run, but has the unique power of quickly clearing off the play-path for his followers. When playing the game, an able-bodied child can wear a balloon-suit to experience the challenges of being in a wheelchair in a fun way. The Uniekies Game consists of six super-heroes, whose playsuits can be prepared with everyday materials, such as balloons, kitchen foil, and umbrellas.
This project was a collaboration effort between Panton, a design office in Deventer focused on health care; NSGK, a Dutch foundation dedicated to supporting projects that stimulate the development of children with disabilities in the Netherlands; and Delft Institute of Positive Design.
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