Cognitive disabilities impact a player’s ability to comprehend, compute, or execute a set of instructions, procedures, rules, or story telling.

Quick Guidance

  • Primarily for children or players with caregivers: Pre-session communication will provide you guidance on the grade/age level the player may be functioning at.  This should give some guidance toward the level of accessibility of game content and mechanics.
  • Utilize cards with symbols on them for the purpose of easier selection and memory tagging for actions and power uses. This can be combined with text, but doesn’t necessarily demand it. Providing additional tactile touchstones will assist in recall of information.
  • Provide additional resources for media utilization. Calculators or other computational means can be provided to assist with calculation needs.
  • Text can be presented on clean materials free of distracting backgrounds that might interfere with literacy. Use of color coding font can highlight key texts to make them easier to consume.
  • Other assistive technology may already be present (potentially as part of an individualized or caregivers plan.) Becoming familiarized with that technology and any capacity needs it may have, will help foster understanding between all parties. If assistive technology uses customizable word-bank reading software, consider offering to populate a custom menu with terminology particular to the game.
  • Provide guidance or a series of options when open-ended decision making needs to be supported. Be sure to allow for alternative options, however. Additionally, this may be implemented when communicating about turn order with the other players as they take turns as their heroes. 
  • It may be required to limit action requests to a series of actionable requests, rather than delivering several sets of instruction all at once.
  • Consider reducing sessions play times or pre-planning to shorten engagements. Rather than running long sessions, stack several short engagements on top of each other to allow for smaller incremental progression.
  • Consider vocabulary used, and concepts described within sessions, in comparison to the audience’s grade/age level. Determine which actions or rules are necessary to promote your game session and which aren’t. 
  • Reduce the game’s dependency and utilization on unnecessary mechanics where applicable.

Possible Articles

  • Short attention span, typically easily distracted or lacking in concentration
  • Difficulty retaining or absorbing oral instruction or conversation
  • Difficulty with retention or memory
  • Displays poor reading skills or reading skill that deteriorates over time
  • Displays complete inability to read
  • Displays ability to read but difficulty in retention or absorption of material when read.
  • Mild or specific reading inability
  • Mechanical inability to read or comprehend – Losing place, juxtaposing words or letters, skipping
  • Inability to understand or express abstract language metaphor, symbolism, humor
  • Delay in processing or communicating concepts, ideas, or abstractions
  • Inability to comprehend moderate or simple instruction greater than a simple mechanic at a time.
  • Conditions that profoundly impact cognition, such as delirium, or intellectual functioning
  • Difficulty with mental computation
  • Difficulty with pattern recognition
  • Difficulty with mathematical operations
  • Difficulty calculating mathematics when presented within a body of text
  • Difficulty with writing or organizing mathematical problems
  • Difficulty solving puzzles, mazes, or logic problems
  • Difficulty with creating legible writing
    Difficulty verbally communicating wants and needs
  • Difficulty understanding sequences, including time or events
  • Difficulty maintaining organization of possessions, often leading to searching
  • Difficulty with time management and self organization
  • Polarized skill sets with great abilities and weaknesses
  • Difficulty with conceptual matters associated with time.
  • Difficulty recognizing consequence
  • Difficulty understanding oral communication when complex or fast paced
  • Aversion or inability to directly communicate or receive communication
  • Delay or inability to respond when prompted
  • Inability to multitask, often with tasks not typically associated as inherently isolated
  • Inability to understand physical gestures, body language, facial expressions, or social cues.
  • Needs nonverbal landmarks or touchstones to enable processing
  • Difficulty with common or day to day activities that may require dedicated instruction or attention
  • Aversion to sustain effort, especially requiring mental endurance, often leading to abandonment or procrastination

Cognitive Needs Articles


Skip to content