zommodsCharity - SpecialEffect
SpecialEffect is a charity out of the UK that helps disabled persons play video games. None of you know this, but I actually work for a company (Rapid Assist Technology) that specializes in Assistive Technology. Assistive Technology promotes greater independence by enabling people to perform tasks that they were formerly unable to accomplish, or had great difficulty accomplishing, by providing enhancements to, or changing methods of interacting with, the technology needed to accomplish such tasks.
It makes me happy to see an organization out there, dedicated to helping people with disabilities play the games you and I play everyday.
Here is a little about SpecialEffects
“SpecialEffect started because it had to!" says Dr Mick Donegan, Founder and Head of the charity. "I've worked in the field of disability and technology for a long time and, time and time again, parents of children with disabilities and people with disabilities themselves kept saying that they found it difficult or impossible to access mainstream video games and leisure technology.”
"There was nowhere to go for independent and expert advice and support to help them use technology to actually have fun! So that's why we started, because no one in the UK was offering that kind of service."
SpecialEffect was founded in 2007 and within months it became obvious that there was a huge demand for help and advice. Over the next six years the charity had no option but to grow in size to meet that demand, and now they have four full-time and ten part-time staff members, along with a welcome army of volunteers and an active group of SpecialEffect Ambassadors.
Funding hasn't been easy. “We don't charge for the work we do,” says Mick. “Anyone, anywhere in the UK can ask us for help and, if appropriate, we’ll buy and lend the necessary videogames and access technology for them to try out for themselves.”
SpecialEffect’s first office was a tiny unheated upper room in a remote Oxfordshire village (left), but in 2009 they moved to the market town of Charlbury where they were able to open the UK’s first accessible games room for people with disabilities.
With the number of people enjoying computer games steadily increasing, there’s going to be no fall-off in the number of people needing support. But at the heart of the charity is a determination to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to help each individual.
“It’s why we’ve no need to play the numbers game when it comes to the quantity of people that we support,” says Mick. “On the one hand, our GameBase website is giving information worldwide to many people who might need immediate specialist advice about accessible games and controllers. On the other, we have an increasing list of very severely disabled individuals who have complex problems that we know will take us years of support visits and equipment loans to begin to solve.”
"But that’s why we’re here. If the charity had been set up to support just one person, it would have been more than worthwhile."
If you want to support SpecialEffects, please contact them at their website - http://www.specialeffect.org.uk