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 – www.cost.eu/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.