Online Interaction

Different types of gaming platforms allow different access to conversations with others online. Dependent on family history and school acesss and exposure through others around them, students with disabilities can struggle to cope with the opportunities for interaction and immediate access to others to ‘play’ with that they might not have at home, at school or around them in the community e.g. sporting clubs. Prioritising interest in certain types of games can be because of their access to others to play with. It can also be because of the need to tick the box on the conversation and time use of I have someone as a friend to play with. Some students are aware of the challenges that they are experiencing interacting with others but struggle to problem solve strategies around the ‘what else’ could they do if that particular activity was not what they did. Exploring the options for online and offline gaming is essential for independent play and reducing anger and demand that schedules revolve around play at designated times or for extended periods of time to suit interacting with others. Games can be challenging to move through levels and students frequently require their friends assistance to help them achieve a higher status. This dependence on others can result in exposure to bullying in the form of control of delivery of help to meet very real difficulties within the games. Alternatively the student may be good at taking the time to explain how things work to others, or may be a good listener for others experiences of bullying. Difficulties inherent within the game structure that require students to need to watch online videos to ‘learn’ how to complete a game rather than being able to work it out as they go puts a lot of pressure on where the information to succeed comes from. There exists graded levels within different types of online and offline games which can allow a smoother transition and more focus on completing the actual game rather than percentage of time spent where risks of bullying are high. It is really important to explore and expand upon use of these types of activities to support positive online experiences.