Empowerment and ownership in intellectual disability gaming
Review and reflections towards an able gaming perspective (2010-2020)
As with other populations, the usage of games by people with Intellectual Disability (ID) has been increasingly approached by research. Notwithstanding, the role of games in the lives of people with disabilities tends to be studied through a categorical picture that emphasizes its therapeutic characteristics and neglects games as recreation and as a form of cultural expression. The present work aims to review the main research outcomes of the last 10 years in the field of gaming and ID. It presents an analysis of the main research objectives and approaches to gaming adopted in the analysed studies, as a path to reflect on two specific concepts: empowerment and ownership. Therefore, a Systematic Literature Review (SLR) methodology, accompanied by statistical and content analysis procedures, was adopted to analyse a sample of 61 peer-reviewed research papers (2010-2020) in this field. The obtained results emphasize the passive role of individuals with ID in games research, with gaming mainly seen through therapeutic our game-based learning approaches. The presented reflection on inclusive research, through the parallelism between game studies and critical disability studies, also highlights that the access to games, as a cultural expression, for people with ID could foster the inclusion of these individuals in the public sphere, both in media and in the democratic civic structures. The produced insights intend to frame future approaches that situate the potential of games and their accessibility as strategies to decrease environmental barriers and hindrances that people with ID face in their specific contexts and foster inclusion.
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