Children with physical disabilities often have difficulties connecting with other children during play activities due to their limited physical abilities which leads to rejection by able-bodied children. At the same time, able-bodied children don't purposedly exclude any of their peers from play activities - they simply want to have a physically challenging flow when playing. How to encourage solidarity in children play among physically disabled and able-bodied children? In other words, how to reconcile the dilemma between wanting to have fun vs. wanting to play together?
The Uniekies Game reframes this dilemma: It 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 with his/her bulky suit. 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.
Uniekies Game is designed by Janine Innemee as part of her MSc graduation project at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft). I supervised this design project, together with Mathieu Gielen (TU Delft), Joris Swaak and Ingeborg Griffioen (Panton). This project was initiated by the Deventer-based design studio Panton, and carried out in collaboration with NSGK (Nederlandse Stichting voor het Gehandicapte Kind) and Delft Institute of Positive Design (DIOPD). Uniekies Game can be purchased through Earth Games.