Like most young people, our resident SMA columnist Brianna Albers, loves computer games, particularly interactive online games. It was a place where she felt that her spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) didn’t matter, where nobody needed to know about it unless she chose to tell them. It was a safe place where she felt equal among her peers as she explains in her article “Video Game Platforming, But From a Wheelchair With a Mouse.“
However, her gaming experiences weren’t always good. Being unable to use a regular controller, Brianna had to use a mouse and an onscreen keyboard. For the most part, this didn’t affect her ability to play the games she loved so much, but occasionally she would struggle to do things that clearly weren’t designed to be completed with a mouse.
Brianna also talks about the some of the experiences she’s had with other gamers after explaining that she has to play differently due to being in a wheelchair and not being able to use a controller. Some have been bad, but most people she told were extremely positive and continued to want to play alongside her.
As her SMA has progressed her ability to game has declined further, to the point where she would need friends to game on her behalf — choosing games where she could pick the options via onscreen dialogues choices. While this worked and she and her friends had fun, it had taken away the independence that gaming had given her.
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