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New to you and without a clue!

3 replies [Last post]
Joined: 01/24/2017

Hello Everyone!

My name is Jonathan Mills, form Hull, England.

I'm an intern at Talent Match Humber, A project working with young people 18-24 who have been out or work from a diverse range of groups, working to make them more employable.

I have only been working for a few months, in that time I've been given the responsibility of working with a group we made called PADD (peoples awareness of disability discrimination) made up of young people with a range of disabilities from autism to learning difficulties. The aim of the group is to raise awareness and promote the positive aspect of employing people with a disability as well as working with employers to remove stigma. The whole ethos of talent match is about 'co-production' which is about believing that young people know best what is holding them back and giving them the power to make decisions and the autonomy deliver them.

I am tasked with guiding them with two projects they chose to do, one of which being a board game about the difficulties they face when looking for work.

The game in question is 6 players, each one representing a different disability: autism, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, seizures and learning difficulties. Each character in the game has been given 3 positive attributes and 3 negative. For example the Autistic character will be honest with an eye for detail but will have trouble communicating and have narrow focus, while the character with dyslexia will be caring with good problem solving skills but will have poor literacy skills and low self confidence. There are also 10 extra variables for each character regarding their location (rural/urban, access to facilities) their social ties (family, friend circle), Financial ties (disposable income, rent, security) and domestic situation (quality of comfort, internet access etc.)
The Goal of the game is to go round the board and try to get to the interview stage and finally a job.
We are currently developing cards to be drawn throughout the game, 5 types representing different types of support such as job center training/apprentiships, external support etc. and discussing 10 cards for each. At the moment they don't tie in with the variances of the players and its all in bits, but because the whole point of the group Is to work from the ideas that they have it is difficult to guide it into a working finished product. they have been working on it since late 2015 and a lot of ideas have come and gone.

Any comment, help or questions would be greatly appreciated.


let-off studios
let-off studios's picture
Joined: 02/07/2011
Welcome Jonathan

Hello and welcome, Jonathan! In a previous day job, I worked as the supported employment job coach/program lead at a day program for adults with disabilities, several of which you mentioned in your message. Nowadays I work more with the typical population though our work still focuses on employment barriers.

Your project has me interested, and the subject is close to my heart. Who is your target audience? What do you hope to accomplish with this game?

Soulfinger's picture
Joined: 01/06/2015
As the father of a special

As the father of a special needs child, the game concept kind of depresses me with how it defines the individuals according to their disabilities. It runs the risk of reinforcing stereotypes, as well as the player's self-perception of "negative" attributes. If you are going to use that approach then use neutral attributes, such as how a focus on detail can be good and bad, or how someone with dyslexia must determine how expression and attentiveness can benefit them outside of reading. It's a shitty game that says, "You are Frank, the guy with dyslexia and low self-confidence." Not helpful to someone coping with both situations and certainly not accurate of people like my father-in-law, who is dyslexic and a full-on narcissistic sociopath.

You could perhaps use an analogy for the goal of getting a job, assuming you envision this as a game and not a workforce training seminar. Or at the very least, tack on a theme, so they are getting jobs as Airship Captains and Nerf Herders, or whatever, instead of just doing real life emulations best done over pretzels and beer.

Joined: 01/24/2017
extra details

Soulfinger - I do appreciate your input and criticisms of where the project is right now, but you should understand that all the details so far are made by young people with varying disabilities and not by me at all. Most of them are on the autistic spectrum. They have churned out many great ideas, a lot from before i started here, but because of their conditions they tend to hit a wall and get bogged down with the fine details. My job is to guide them with what they want to do in order to turn this into a working product.
You also need to understand that this isn't a game to be produced and marketed, it's to be played maybe once by employers and work coaches etc. at conventions and job fairs, that's why it seems more like a workforce training seminar and not a game.
The board game is more of a catalyst to try and put forward some very serious issues and give people with the resources and power to make positive changes to societies most vulnerable some level of insight into the difficulties people with disabilities face in life, which also answers the questions that you gave me let-of studios.

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