Adult male sitting on motorized wheelchair watching tv in a dark house. Outside the home are icons, symbols, and motifs of inaccessible hobbies.

Finding a Disability Friendly Hobby

Recently I felt like I was stuck in a rut with my hobbies or activities to unwind. It seemed like I was either on my computer or watching TV. And that’s pretty common for everyone, not just people with disabilities, but an able-bodied person definitely has a lot more choices when it comes to adding a third or fourth activity to the loop.

Disability limits choices of activities

Somebody with more strength and independence can go for a walk, hop in the car to drive around town, go to the gym, do some gardening, or an array of anything else. Having a disability limits choices when it comes to finding the right hobby and most of it involves some kind of technology.

Technology offers freedom

I’m sure most of my disabled peers have no problem with constantly needing technology since it’s really the place that gives us the most freedom (besides our wheelchairs). But I’m getting a little bit tired of staring at a screen and so are my eyes which seem to never get a break from that dreadful blue light. Plus, I’m kind of an old-fashioned guy who enjoys old-fashioned things like reading a physical book instead of an e-book. Something about holding a hardcover just hits different.

Relying on technology

Reading is a hobby but if I want to read then I need someone nearby to help change the page because unfortunately I can’t do that myself. So, my only way to read independently has me going right back to technology.

Walking around my neighborhood if the weather is nice can be a good way to relax, but what if I hit a bump and my hand falls off the joystick? That would suck so I’d need someone to tag along but then I’m still not doing the activity independently.

You see, my hobby conundrum is multi-layered: finding an activity that doesn’t just involve my eyes glued to a screen and doing said activity independently.

As good as anyone with gaming

I started thinking about what I enjoyed doing when I was younger and apparently a lot of my childhood was consumed by video games. Gaming was always the one thing I could do without any assistance or adaptions and I was just as good as my able-bodied friends.

Now, trouble with the controller

I regularly played video games up until a few years ago when I bought a PS4 and noticed I was having trouble with the controller. I couldn’t hold it for as long as I used to or mash the same buttons which was previously a thoughtless movement. Video games, the freedom of adventure and mindless entertainment, were leaving me and I didn’t like that.

Finding a way to get back into gaming

I gave up playing just out of pure frustration. But over the past few weeks, while I pondered a new hobby, video games popped into my head. Now I’m determined to figure out a way to play that accommodates my current physical strengths and still provides the same thrill.

And, I have! Stay tuned for a future article about gaming with a disability.

In the meantime, I know you’re thinking that video games totally contradict my desire to find an activity away from a screen. You’re right, but it’s also great occupational therapy and that has to give some bonus points.

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