Animal Crossing creates a supportive environment

By Indi Fillery

Brand Engagement Officer

Therapy Focus’ Gaming Therapy program has continued to grow and evolve with the use of the popular online game, Animal Crossing.

The Gaming Therapy program was established in 2020 and primarily utilised Minecraft™ to offer people with disability the opportunity to connect with others while working together to achieve their therapy goals.

Therapy Focus Speech Pathologist, Kelly Scott recently ran the program using Animal Crossing for the first time. Group sessions were held at Therapy Focus’ Walliston office with participants supported by Kelly to work together and feel a sense of belonging within a social group.

Pictured: Customers participate in Animal Crossing.

The group sessions were a great success with feedback from participants highlighting the need for peer support groups that focus on social inclusion.

One participant remarked, “The group showed me that there are other people out there with the same interests as me who will be kind.”

Another said, “I liked that Kelly didn’t have any strict rules or activities that we HAD to participate in, she just supported us to work together to feel safe and have fun. I felt much safer than in other groups I have been to before!”

In addition to facilitating Gaming Therapy sessions, Kelly has been conducting research to explore the ways in which therapy can be neuro-affirming and inclusive and is passionate about implementing new methods of service delivery that enable this.

“Creating and running the first Gaming Therapy sessions that utilised Animal Crossing was one of the most rewarding experiences of my career as a Speech Pathologist so far,” Kelly said.

“The group was designed to be a neuro-affirming experience that focused on supporting group members to work together and compromise so that they could have fun together without having to change to fit in.”

“I was really excited to create an opportunity for participants to come together, have fun and learn new things but, more importantly, create a safe space where they could really experience a true sense of belonging – as this is something that is often hard to find for neurodivergent people.”

“Watching the participants confidently play together, plan and solve problems, as well as hearing how safe they felt brought me a lot of joy. It was an amazing experience that makes me feel very excited about the future of service delivery.”

Future Gaming Therapy sessions are currently being planned for the January 2023 School Holidays. Speak with your Key Worker or therapist for more information.

Take part in Gaming Therapy

Our Gaming Therapy program is delivered by our experienced therapists in weekly sessions and can be accessed using NDIS funding or purchased privately.