How Video Games Can Benefit People With Disabilities

• written by Krist Duro

More and more, we’re beginning to see how video games can actually be fantastic modes for learning. They have the ability to stimulate the mind in more ways than one by strengthening problem-solving skills, engaging strategic thinking and fostering connection and interaction with others. In addition to mental stimulation, video games can spark muscle movement – particularly Wii games which are incredibly physically interactive. If you’re thinking about how engaging video games are for the general public, imagine how beneficial the impact could be for people with learning or physical disabilities. Here are just a few video games that could lead to a really positive outcome when played by someone with a disability.

Wii Fit

So we know that Wii Fit is incredibly interactive physically. The beauty of this game, though, is how diverse it can be. There are so many different activities within this one game that finding a well-rounded exercise is pretty easy. With activities ranging from skiing to walking a tight rope, you’re able to go from engaging core strength and balance to tuning in to fine motor skills and precision. This type of muscle movement has been proven beneficial for people with ADHD as well as those with cerebral palsy. In addition, there’s an opportunity here for repetition in the activities practiced, which can be incredibly valuable when taking a closer look at how much someone has improved.


This is a really great game for people who have autism spectrum disorder, particularly, as it fosters the practicing of social skills. One of the three areas of development that video games tend to respond to is effective and social development (the other two being motor and intellectual), which Minecraft involves heavily. Not only are you able to work on your social skills by communicating and cooperating with others who are playing, but there’s also a degree of anonymity. The stigma that occasionally arises for people with disabilities don’t exist, giving them the perfect opportunity to practice social skills without feeling discouraged.

Legend of Zelda

Intellectual development such as problem-solving and formulating strategies is something that is prevalent in many video games. Legend of Zelda and other role-playing, adventure games encompass mental stimulation from strategic planning. In adventure games such as Zelda, you must handle one task at a time, work out exactly what’s needed in order to complete that task, and also see the bigger picture of how that task will get you to the next step. The mind is like a muscle – with practice and training, it will become stronger. It is incredibly important to keep the mind working and thinking, especially for people with learning disabilities.

There are so many resources available for people living with disabilities. Ultimately, it’s all about someone with a disability finding what works for him or her. Whether you’re looking for motor skills, mental stimulation or human connection and interaction, with countless video games in existence, it’s likely that something will fit. Now is a better time than ever to grab a comfortable seat and get lost in a video game for a little while!

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