Supporting reading and writing difficulties in Roll for Growth

Many young people are enjoying roleplaying games like Dungeons & Dragons. Many who access Roll for Growth are autistic, and sometimes may need a little extra support with elements of the game. Filling out a whole character sheet can be a daunting process! Understanding that this may be a sensitive topic for some, I’ve made some processes for comfort and ease of play.

I mean, this thing is a lot if you’re not yet used to it.

So here’s some of the ways Roll for Growth sessions are supportive and inclusive of players who may have issues with reading, writing and numbers.

Pre-made character sheets: I have character sheets prepared for the core classes, with all the nitty-gritty numbers prepared, and stars next to the special skills they can select from. The only thing a player needs to do is tell me what abilities and skills they want. We go through them together because some of the skills aren’t incredibly intuitive, and may require explanation to anyone new to the game.

A premade character sheet for a Sorcerer. All I need to know from the player is their race and background, so I can add bonuses. We choose Skills together, and then spells, and choose the origin story for the Sorcerer’s powers.

I use pictures to describe the core races, classes and social backgrounds. They’re pretty simple and fun, and then in our first session I go through what the implications of playing these races are – some have bonuses in their traits that others don’t, or may be good at things above others. As an example, Halflings, like the jolly hobbits from Lord of the Rings, are quite small and find it easier to sneak, so playing a sneaky character is easier. The mighty dragonborn, eight foot tall reptilians, are stronger than most other races and have magical breath attacks. 

I don’t overcomplicate the game. The beauty of these game systems is a massive flexibility to do things the way we want to. Unlike videogames which are very strict on adherence to rules and programming, tabletop games like Hero Kids or Dungeons & Dragons give us unparalleled flexibility to make, modify or ignore rules in favour of fun, storytelling or creativity. We play with the “rule of cool”, meaning that any solution to a problem may be used and given consideration if it is creative and interesting. 

The point is creative problem solving, at the end of the day.

My passion is providing supportive and inclusive services, which means I’m more than willing to learn new ways of doing things to support the people who come to my sessions. These are just some of the ways I’ve built processes to support the Roll for Growth players.

If you have any ideas, recommendations or requests for ways to make the game more inclusive, please feel free to contact me! I’d love to have a chat about it.

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