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Game changing technology for our children and young adults

Become a Game Changer for St Oswald's Hospice

What do you think of when you hear the word ‘gaming?’ For those of us who have children and teenagers, we might imagine games consoles and iPads, or more the more traditionalists among us, board games played with our families that conjure up nostalgic memories of childhood. Playing games is nothing new, but did you know that it can be a lifeline for many of the young people who use our children’s and young adults’ service?

Dylan is 17 and comes to our children’s service for monthly short breaks. He was born with Larsen’s Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that impacts the development of many of the bones in his body.

One thing Dylan can’t live without is his PlayStation. As an avid gamer, Dylan can often play for hours a day with friends, family and the wider gaming community. Over to Dylan to tell us more…

I love playing on my PlayStation, it’s fun and gives me a chance to just be a teenager. When I’m playing, I feel independent. I don’t have to rely on my parents to help me and it’s something I have control over, which I often don’t have.

Due to my condition, I am losing the movement in my hands so I have specially adapted controllers which help me to play. Buttons near my head link to my laptop, phone and my controller. My favourite game to play is FIFA and I’d say I’m pretty good. My special skill is that I play without using my hands, yet no one I am playing with would be able to tell that.

What I like about gaming is that nobody can judge me, they can’t be nasty to me and they can’t look down at me. I’m just a normal person to them. I can just be myself and have fun. When I’m out, people stare at me, they talk to my parents and not to me and ask ‘what’s wrong with him?’ I can still hear and speak, but it’s like I’m not there. When I am gaming, I am just like everyone else.

I love coming to St Oswald’s because they understand my needs. I can be independent and have fun, I get treated like a 17 year old and not a child. I can try new things like baking and playing on the VR (virtual reality) headset with the friends I have made here.

So why are we sharing this with you? For some people gaming is a chance to get away, have fun and socialise with friends in a safe place. It means a lot to some of the Children and Young Adults who attend the Hospice to help them feel normal and independent. It can also have profound effects on people without life limiting conditions too. And that’s why we’re here, to ask you, or someone you know, to do something they love to try and raise a few pounds. So be a game changer, make your own rules and support St Oswald’s through gaming.

Find out how to be a Game Changer for St Oswald's Hospice