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LUDI at Spielwarenmesse 2018 in Nürnberg

Maria Costa, Management Committee Member of LUDI, presented “LUDI – Play for Children with disabilities”, outlining its main objectives, the activities carried out up to now, and the main results, in the Toy Business Forum at Spielwarenmesse, on 31 January 2018.

LUDI was described as an excellent example of a European Project related to a new trend in toys and games, which is called “Just For Fun” in the Trend Gallery. This trend is highly coherent with the LUDI Position Statement “Play for the sake of play”, which was presented at the IPA Triennial Conference at Calgary, Alberta, Canada, in September 2017.

LUDI and its objectives were very well received by the audience because it is not focused on creating materials for rehabilitation or therapy, but on toys and games for all children, including those with disabilities, to have the most fun possible!!!

Spielwarenmesse took place at the Nuremberg Exhibition Centre (Germany) from 31 January to 4 February. The event has 2,902 exhibitors (toy companies) from 68 countries, and more than 71,000 trade visitors from 129 nations. It is the most important toy fair in the world.

LUDI at IPA Triennial World Conference 2017 in Calgary

IPA Conference Canada 2017

LUDI took part to the International Play Association Triennial World Conference in Calgary. In this occasion, LUDI received the IPA Award!

Serenella Besio and Pedro Encarnação introduced to the public the network LUDI on September the 15th with the presentation: Making the right to play of children with disabilities in reality: the COST Action LUDI “Play for Children with Disabilities”.

It was an opportunity to illustrate the challenges and the results of our project again and to a wider and overseas public the goals. LUDI’s first outcomes was also presented through three posters: the first books, the databases, the first Training school, the LUDI “Position Statement”, etc.

Other four LUDI members also participated at the IPA Conference, Helen Lynch from Ireland, Maria Prellwitz from Sweden, Christina Schulze from Switzerland and Alice Moore from Ireland, with a presentation titled: Promoting or preventing play for children with disabilities in Europe: Perspectives from policy and practice. The colleagues will also present the LUDI survey they developed (, aimed at investigating play policies in the different European Countries.

For the detailed programme:

LUDI at AAATE Congress 2017 in Sheffield

LUDI at AAATE Congress 2017 – Sheffield UK

Within the activities of Working Group 2, which deals with tools and technologies for play of children with disabilities, 5 LUDI studies will present their works to the most important European conference on Assistive Technology.
Raymond Holt, University of Leeds, will introduce the LUDI Network on 13rd September
Then, 5 oral communications will follow, about research of members of the LUDI Network.

Our session is that related to AT for children.

The Session Chair is Raymond Holt, University of Leeds.

The presentations are the following ones:

  • “Dyscalculia” Serious Game for Skill Development of Children with Dyscalculia

Cecilia Sik Lanyi, University of Pannonia

  • “Sliders” Android Game – Improving Logical Skills of People with Disabilities

Tibor Guzsvinecz, University of Pannonia,

  • Android-based Daily Routine Organizing Application for Elementary School Students Living with ASD: Today, more and more children with Autism Spectrum disorder are diagnosed, which means that around 1% of the population is concerned

Cecilia Sik Lanyi, University of Pannonia

  • Designing Out the Play: Accessibility and Playfulness in Inclusive Play: Play is an important part of child development, yet disabled children are often excluded from the opportunity to play, either due to lack of accessible toys and games, or social pressures

Raymond John Holt, University of Leeds

  • Interactive Games with an Assistive Robotic System for Hearing-Impaired Children: This paper presents an assistive robotic system, which can recognize and express sign language words from a predefined set, within interactive games to communicate with and teach hearing impaired children sign language

Hatice Kose


For the detailed programme:

Professor Serenella Besio at the ECSJ 2017 in Copenhagen

The LUDI Chair Professor Serenella Besio was invited with the research project “LUDI – Play for Children with Disabilities” at the European Conference for Science Journalists – ECSJ2017, that occured in Copenhagen, between the 26th and the 29th June 2017.

LUDI had been one of the 9 Research Actions identified by the European COST Program, among the almost 150 currently active, to be presented at the important event of scientific dissemination. The conference focused on three main themes that relate to the communicative role of journalists: new media, the climate of the earth, responsibility in information. The event programme is available here.

Play of children with disabilities, studied by LUDI, was included in the latter group since it requires journalists to «get the nuances to the role of science in society», so that «science will be covered in the best possible way». Paraphrasing Shakespeare: “children are such stuff as play is made on”.
Play is vital for children with disabilities as for any other child: but often play becomes difficult for them due to their functional limitations, or because the world of objects and gazes around them is not accessible and welcoming enough, or even because adults do not know how to play and to teach to play with them, in an inventive, fun and inclusive way. The world of children with disabilities should not only be made of educational and rehabilitative exercises and goals – as it may seem by observing their busy days. Like any other child, they have the right to play, to leisure time, to have fun, to build on, by playing, their own development.

And this is exactly what LUDI is currently studying: accessibility of play, playgrounds, and toys; play evaluation methods and playful interaction strategies; teachers’ and professionals’ training; extension and fulfillment of the child’s rights. All these themes will be discussed in Copenhagen.

The abstract of the presentation is available here

LUDI at the 7th DSAI Conference 2016 in Vila Real

LUDI participated to the 7th International Conference Software Development and Technologies for Enhancing Accessibility and Fighting Info-exclusion (DSAI), at the University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro – UTAD, in Vila Real (P) on December 1-3 2016.
The main topic of the Conference concerned Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and, specifically, the idea that technology design should take into account accessibility and usability features for the protection and promotion of the equal human rights of persons with disabilities, consistently with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The LUDI Action Session involved seven members of the network (Angharad Beckett, Serenella Besio, Andrea Bonarini, Eva Brook-Peterson, Daniela Bulgarelli, Pedro Encarnação and Iolanda Iacono) presenting the following five communications in the Special Track “LUDI – Play for Children with Disabilities (COST Action TD1309)” organized by Pedro Encarnação, LUDI Vice-Chair (
• S. Besio, A. Bonarini, H. Lynch, P. Molina, F. Veronese, D. Bulgarelli, Mainstream robotic toys and children with physical impairment: what about playfulness?
• F. Veronese, D. Bulgarelli, S. Besio, N. Bianquin, A. Bonarini, Off-the-shelf, robotic toys and physically impaired children: an analysis and suggested improvements
• A. Bonarini, F. Clasadonte, F. Garzotto, M. Gelsomini, M. Romero, Playful interaction with Teo, a mobile robot for children with neurodevelopmental disorders
• A. Beckett, E. Brooks, R. Holt, Moving beyond boundaries: when User-Centered Design meets Sociology
• P. Marti, I. Iacono, M. Tittarelli, Gaming archaeology: playful learning for children with different abilities

LUDI also had a dedicated space for project exhibition during the 3 days of the conference, where informative documents about the Action, posters and advertising leaflets about the forthcoming LUDI books (“Play Development in Children with Disabilities” and “Barriers to Play and Recreation for Children and Young People with Disabilities”) were presented.

LUDI at ESOF 2016 in Manchester

On Sunday 24 and Monday 25 July 2016, Dr Angharad Beckett and Dr Ben Robins, both MC Members for the United Kingdom of COST Action TD1309 “LUDI – Play for Children with Disabilities”, showcased their experience in joining or setting up a European research network at EuroScience Open Forum.

Dr Angharad Beckett, MC Members for the United Kingdom of COST Action TD1309, and European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas.
Dr Ben Robins, MC Members for the United Kingdom of COST Action TD1309, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas, and Kaspar

LUDI at COTEC-ENOTHE 2016 in Galway

Council of Occupational Therapist for the European Countries  (COTEC) and European Network of Occupational Therapy Education in Europe (ENOTHE) were holding a joined conference at NUI in Galway, Ireland. This congress only takes place once every four years and was attended this year by over 1,000 delegates from every continent.


LUDI had the opportunity to hold a symposium on the topic of play for children with disabilities. The theme of the congress was about CONNECTING. So our LUDI symposium was titled:


At the opening of this symposium Maria Prellwitz (Sweden) presented the LUDI network and the relevance of our work. Her work about accessibility of playgrounds for children with disabilities in Sweden is well known and highly valued.


Sylvie Ray-Kaeser (Switzerland) presented her research with children with DCD and the play challenges the children experience. She suggests that occupational therapists should examine more children’s expectations towards play and offering meaningful play goals and play activities. Obviously parents should be involved in this process as well.



Marieke Coussens’ (Belgium) work is focusing on supporting the professionals in day care centre for young children, aged 0-4 years. The tool kit her team has established is stimulating awareness for the importance of play and providing coaching on the job with concrete ideas and facilitation to stimulate play.


The 4th presentation was about the work of Dana Cappel and Noa Nitzan (Israel).  Rianne Jansens (Netherlands) presented on behalf of the Israeli colleagues the positive experiences with children with physical and sometimes also cognitive disabilities in using an iPad for play for the sake of play.

Helen Lynch (Ireland) moderated the questions and discussions at the end of the symposium. These were about definitions of play, how occupational therapists enable play for children in their practice, the influence of the professional context when providing play for the sake and/or play or play like activities.

The symposium was successful in fostering ideas about how we think of play in therapy, and the need to consider play for play-sake as a fundamental issue that is often forgotten.



LUDI at Early Childhood Ireland 2016 in Dublin: “Play is FUNdamental”

This year Conference of “Early Childhood Ireland” has been devoted to the theme “Play is FUNdamental”, that means to the importance of play for the child’s development under any aspect.

The Action Session organized by the COST Action LUDI “Play for Children with Disabilities”, held on April the 15th was devoted to deepen the aspects that the play activity assumes when the players are special children.


Children with disabilities, in fact, may encounter some, or many, difficulties in developing through play, in relation both to their impairments and to social constraints. But play is the main engine for development and growth also for children with disabilities, who do not need to be offered ludic activities only during learning or rehabilitation sessions, rather they should have the opportunity to play as they wish, as they prefer, simply for the sake of play.

The LUDI members presented the Action LUDI as a pan-European transdisciplinary research network totally devoted to the theme of PLAY for children with disabilities. LUDI objectives for the Action (which will last four years, from 2014 to 2018) were presented. Then each members presented the state of the art of each Working Group.

During discussion time the audience showed great interest in the theme, and posed many questions aimed at discovering if further development of the Action will also include deepening of educational aspects, such as the topic of peer/adult relationships related to play, as well as of the LUDI training model, which has to be developed in the next year.

At the end of the LUDI Action session an overview of the deliverables of the different working groups were presented. These will be embraced as a great source of up-to-date in-depth information regarding different elements of play for children with disabilities.

The audience was invited to share their experiences and insights, and of course to take part in the LUDI network.

The focus of presentations and workshops was on young children in general. The Minister of Child & Youth, James O’Reilly, who opened the Early Childhood Conference on Saturday, demonstrated his specific interest on LUDI, since he mentioned explicitly the importance of giving children with disabilities access to early childhood interventions – play of course included  – so that all children can reach their full potential.

  • Vaska Stancheva-Popkostadinova
  • Anna Andreeva
  • Tamara Zappaterra
  • Eva Petersson-Brooks
  • Rianne Jansens


LUDI at CounterPlay ’16 in Aarhus

Play has an important role in supporting us all to have fun as well as develop, communicate, learn and adapt. All children should be morally and legally entitled to play within their own community, irrespective of their culture, ability, gender, language, background, behaviour or need. However for some of us, life might be a bit more challenging due to a permanent or temporary physical, sensory or mental disability. Barriers, lack of autonomy, segregation, are some of the unwelcomed terms that might accompany disability. Are these barriers transferred into our need or access to play? Has play the power to bypass barriers and constraints? In this presentation we will explore the relation between play and disability by using different case studies, including: GameLab – a playful game design workshop in a special education school and Athens Plaython – an inclusive street play festival, while we present Ludi Network (LUDI – Play for Children with Disabilities), a European network that aims at the creation of a novel and autonomous field of research and intervention on play for children with disabilities. Spreading awareness on the importance of giving children with disabilities the opportunity to play, Ludi will try to ensure equity in their exercise of the right to play for play’s sake! This presentation is financed within the EU COST Programme – TD1309 –


Short bio: Maria studies games in their different applications within and beyond the digital world. She is a researcher of the Lab of New Technologies at the University of Athens where she works on playful environments and studies the experience of users with and without disability. Maria is also the co-founder of Athens Plaython. Together with the Athens Plaython community, she has been curating street gaming festivals and conferences, playful inclusive experiences, and game design workshops for all.



LUDI at the TASP Conference 2016 in New Brunswick

This year LUDI is participating in the TASP Conference in New Brunswick (NJ – USA), from March 14th to March 16th. The conference is held by The Association for the Study of Play (TASP) and by the American Association for the Child’s Right to play (IPA/USA).
The 2016 TASP/IPA conference is an opportunity for the field to come together and explore the current state of play, including theoretical, empirical, and applied work that informs the knowledge of play throughout the lifespan and across contexts. The goal of the conference is to generate momentum to move the importance of play further into the public domain. The organizing committee has chosen the theme of Play on the Move and is eager to bring together a diverse group of researchers, practitioners, and advocates, both those new to play and those who have made it their life’ʹs work.
The LUDI Chair Serenella Besio will present a poster named: “LUDI – Play for children with disabilities. A European network to support the play of children with disabilities“, illustrating the LUDI mission, goals and organization.