It’s hard for able-bodied people to imagine what daily living is like for people with disabilities. And that makes it hard for them to help.
Local social enterprise, Enabled Singapore, is developing a mobile phone-based life simulation game called Enabler to teach players how to assist and care for persons with disabilities and senior citizens. Developed with the input of actual people with disabilities, the app is designed for use by caregivers and anyone interested in helping a friend who has a disability.
We tried our hands on a test build of the game. We picked the scenario of a caregiver helping a client with daily activities in the house. At first glance, the game looks a little like the Sims, presenting an isometric view of a house. You move about by tapping the screen.
When interacting with objects or a person with disability, we were presented with choices for action and or conversation. For more complex actions like helping a client off the bed, the game presents a choice between two diagrams.
At the end of a round of gameplay, we got an assessment of how well we did, and a set of scores on client satisfaction, how much freedom the client had under our care, and the personal and privacy boundaries we may or may not have respected. The “feedback” from our simulated client is informative and light-hearted, but we found it still a little text heavy.
The team behind the game, Australian humanitarian engineer Huy Nguyen and Singapore disability advocate Mano Karan, is looking for volunteers and caregivers to develop and test more scenarios for their game. They are also looking for funders to bring the app to market.