Chicago, IL, November 29, 2022
There is a new player in the gaming community aimed at creating inclusive, accessible spaces for an underserved population – disabled gamers. Easterseals, the nation’s leading nonprofit provider of disability services and supports, has announced ES Gaming, which exists to create a new standard for equity, inclusion, and access among all disabled gamers and amplifies disabled voices and accessible innovations to deliver a more inclusive space in an ever-evolving industry.
While disability awareness and accessibility in gaming has risen to become a priority for many companies and developers, there are still barriers for gamers with disabilities. Online communities can be exclusionary for disabled gamers, where they feel unwelcome and often bullied out of spaces. "It took me a while to find a gaming community that was both accessible and accepting,” says Erin Hawley, Digital Content Producer for Easterseals and gaming accessibility consultant. “I love having the opportunity to help others find that space. Community gaming has such a positive impact on mental health by combating isolation, and I want others to know there is a place for them to exist as who they are without judgement.”
While strides have been made in the industry toward inclusion, there is still not enough knowledge and understanding of accessibility and what that really means for disabled and nondisabled gamers alike. ES Gaming will change that with educational and engaging social content, ongoing Twitch streams featuring disabled gamers, and other community events aimed at bringing gamers together for a collective cause.
One such event is ES Gaming’s Game4Access Streamathon on December 3, 2022 – which is also International Day of Persons with Disabilities. From 2pm to 10pm EST on Twitch, disabled influencers in the gaming world, along with other special guests, will come together to raise money for this initiative. The Streamathon will feature games like Rocket League, Minecraft, and Fortnite – all of which are popular with disabled and nondisabled gamers alike due to their accessibility. All funds raised will support ES Gaming’s focus of providing access to the disability community in gaming spaces while advancing Easterseals’ mission of full equity, inclusion, and access for disabled individuals and the community.
"We believe that esports and gaming will introduce Easterseals to a younger donor demographic, but more importantly, create opportunities to introduce more people with disabilities to esports and gaming and potentially spark their interest in honing their skills or even pursuing a career in the field,” said Kendra E. Davenport, President and CEO of Easterseals. “We're also excited about the potential to work with new technology partners to develop more creative assistive technology to make esports possible for more people. The potential for this initiative is limitless.”
ES Gaming continues to grow and build connections in the gaming community and industry. To learn more about ES Gaming and to see how you can get involved, visit www.esgaming.gg. You can join the Streamathon on December 3, 2022, at 2pm to 10pm EST, live on the Game4Access Twitch page.
Easterseals is leading the way to full equity, inclusion, and access through life-changing disability and community services. For more than 100 years, we have worked tirelessly with our partners to enhance quality of life and expand local access to healthcare, education, and employment opportunities. ES Gaming builds on the strengths of our national network of Affiliates who provide essential services and on-the-ground supports to more than 1.5 million people each year.