Would You Be Mine: Appropriating Minecraft as an Assistive Technology for Youth with Autism
Kathryn Ringland, Christine Wolf, LouAnne Boyd, Mark Baldwin and Gillian Hayes
University of California, Irvine
Those with disabilities have long adopted, adapted, and appropriated collaborative systems to serve as assistive devices. In this paper, we present the results of a digital ethnography in a Minecraft virtual world for children with autism, specifically examining how this community has used do-it-yourself (DIY) making activities to transform the game into a variety of assistive technologies. Our results demonstrate how players and administrators “mod” the Minecraft system to support self-regulation and community engagement. This work highlights the ways in which we, as researchers concerned with accessible and equitable computing spaces, might reevaluate the scope of our inquiry, and how designers might encourage and support appropriation, enhancing users’ experience and long-term adoption.
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