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What our experts say

Through our games, we also give voice to experts. Thanks to their vision, we are able to inform practitioners, caregivers and patients of the benefits of each game and the cognitive functions they engage.

The entire Access+ team wishes you a good game!

Tro, Mathilde

Tro, Mathilde

Director of Non-Pharmaceutical Support – Korian (France)

In the second year of her Master’s degree in psychology, specializing in gerontology, Mathilde Tro joined the Korian group in February 2014, after having held several positions in assisted living facilities for the elderly (EHPADs), aftercare and rehabilitation center (SSRs) and cognitive-behavioral units (UCCs). She has helped implement therapeutic support based on the individual’s capacities, in response to pathological aging. Since 2021, she has headed the Non-Pharmaceutical Support Department.

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Playing is important at all ages! Children and adults play, so why shouldn’t elderly people? The widespread belief that games/toys are only for children can make using this tool with seniors seem unthinkable. And yet, games can be a very helpful facilitator in supporting elderly people with a neurodegenerative pathology. When caregivers play a game with an elderly person, the framework of the interaction is that of the game. As a result, being the caregiver or the person requiring care no longer matters; both are players and therefore equal in terms of the rules, with the aim of enjoying a moment of well-being. Since making mistakes is permitted in the context of the game, it is not considered a failure, provided the game is adapted to the person’s abilities.

« Games are a tool that stimulate abilities and prioritize the notions of fun and shared play. »

This adaptation (along with preparation) is the key to a successful play session for everyone involved. The game can be used as a tool to stimulate and maintain abilities, and then, once the disease reaches a very advanced stage, it can help prioritize the notions of pleasure and shared play. However, this step can be a pitfall in support if care is not taken to avoid infantilizing the person. Elderly people must be able to continue exercising their free will, regardless of their pathology and its evolution. So, they should be the one to choose the game they want to play, or how they want to play it, and the professional should follow their lead with the help of Access+ games.

Robert, Philippe

Robert, Philippe

Professor of Psychiatry

Philippe Robert is a professor of psychiatry at Côte d’Azur University and director of its Cognition, Behaviour & Technology (CoBTeK) team as well as of the Department of Speech Therapy.

Difficulty concentrating, remembering, getting organized to do a recreational or professional activity, lacking motivation, feeling less emotion, losing interest in one’s relationship with others… These can be signs of a number of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and associated disorders, but also neuropsychiatric disorders, such as depressive states, psychotraumatic stress or schizophrenia.

For many years now, healthcare professionals have shown a keen interest in using non-pharmaceutical interventions for these pathologies. Carried out individually or in groups, these interventions use a multitude of means and supports, including board games!

Board games help people live better by improving their quality of life.

In June 2021, a group of experts made up of clinicians, researchers, caregivers, artists and game specialists met to define the role board games can play in non-pharmaceutical interventions. Their recommendations emphasized that games should be used primarily to stimulate cognitive functions, motivation and positive emotions, as well as foster social interaction. Depending on the type of pathology and its degree of severity, it is helpful to adapt the game’s level of difficulty to prevent the person from feeling a sense of defeat and, instead, promote their success. These recommendations were applied to the Access+ line of games.

Board games are not medications that cure brain disorders. They do much more, because they help people live better by improving their quality of life. Have fun playing!

Pelletier, Anick

Pelletier, Anick

Remedial teacher, Bachelor of Science in academic and social adaption

Anick Pelletier has been working with students living with a disability or with adaptation or learning difficulties (EHDAAs) since 2003. She is the founder of the Optineurones clinic and OptiFex training. She is also a lecturer and instructor, author of the Guide des jeux de société pour apprendre en s’amusant (guide to using board games to learn while having fun), creator of three games the OptiJeu YouTube channel and initiator of the JEuMETACOGITE research project.

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Nowadays, board games have their rightful place in our family relationships and friendships. The benefits games provide are all the more important for children, as they help develop many skills.

When a child plays a board game, provided it has been carefully chosen (level of complexity suitable for their age, visual appeal, sense of accomplishment, entertainment, etc.), an emotional opening is almost immediately created. This natural openness allows the child to use their intellectual and executive resources without necessarily feeling the effort they are making. Moreover, due to the inherent social nature of board games, this fun activity helps children develop social skills. They need to demonstrate flexibility by being open to the other players’ ideas and adjusting their reactions to the other players’ actions and to the rules of the game. Children also learn to engage and strengthen their cognitive and executive functions, as well as the specific skills a game requires: controlling emotions and impulsivity, planning and organizing, memory, language or logic and mathematical skills, etc.

« The Access+ line of games is specifically adapted to support remediation for cognitive disorders. »

Board games have proven to be an excellent way to stimulate these functions, which can be lacking in children experiencing cognitive, developmental or other types of disorders.

Once adapted, this fun medium becomes a very good evaluation, activation and remediation tool for a child’s development.

The Access+ line of games is designed to help families and practitioners reach these goals. It offers a variety of games that have been adapted to make them easier to play and that introduce people to social games (simplified rules, visual and tactile adaptations, etc.). What’s more, these adjustments lighten the mental load (not requiring several elements to be juggled at once) and make it possible to play in specific contexts. This line of games is expressly adapted to support remediation for specific cognitive, executive, social, behavioral or learning disorders. Each Access+ creation therefore has the subtlety to easily create an emotional opening and moments of simple pleasure while stimulating certain functions and skills that may be lacking, to gently work on these.

Gueyraud, Cédric

Gueyraud, Cédric

Doctor of Education Sciences, manager of France’s national training center for the game and toy trades (FM2J) and head lecturer at the Lyon 1 and Lyon 2 universities.

Cédric Gueyraud manages the national training center for the game and toy trades (FM2J) and gives several training sessions and talks to professionals and/or caregivers who want to use games with vulnerable people. He is the author of several publications, including a doctoral thesis called Jeu et maladie d’Alzheimer (games and Alzheimer’s disease).

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Everyone can have a playful side, but when people are living with a disability or have developed certain age-related pathologies, it is more difficult for caregivers and health professionals to coax it out.

It is crucial that the more vulnerable among us have access to games given all the benefits they offer. Playing games creates a space to be free, independent and creative, which fosters a sense of fulfillment. For professionals and caregivers, games act as a cultural object, an educational and therapeutic support and a social driver. A game’s purpose does not need to be changed to promote these interests. On the contrary, the more entertaining and playful a game remains, the more well-being and fulfillment it will instill in the players.

« Playing games creates a space to be free, independent and creative, which fosters a sense of fulfillment. Games act as a social driver, a cultural object and an educational and therapeutic support. »

That said, when faced with certain fragilities, healthcare professionals or caregivers can assign the game an external goal, sometimes making it a little too serious or didactic. Also, it is not always easy to choose a suitable game. To make up for the difficulty of certain games, they can tend to want to help the player… While well-intentioned, they should remember that a “good” game is always one that the player has chosen or agreed to play and that requires little or no outside help.

With its adapted games, the Access+ line builds the self-esteem and social recognition of more vulnerable people by giving them an opportunity to enjoy greater autonomy in games with high entertainment value. This lets them continue enjoying the fun of games and receiving the benefits they provide.

Debien, Christophe

Debien, Christophe

Hospital practitioner in psychiatry

Christophe Debien is a psychiatric practitioner who is involved in implementing France’s VigilanS monitoring system. He is also in charge of the deployment division of the 3114 national suicide prevention hotline run by the university hospital center in Lille, France.

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Play to heal, perhaps… but play to soothe, strengthen and grow, without a doubt.

This is probably why games are among the many facilitation tools we use every day in care services, whether to stimulate a fledgling memory, improve impaired attention and projection abilities or revive tired motor skills.

But games do much more than that: They create a moment of sharing, a space in which performance counts much less than how everyone interacts. Players learn to recognize their own emotions, to accept them, to express them and to compare them with what the other players are feeling. They learn to relate things, sometimes about themselves, and above all, how to build shared memories. Games provide a means of escape. They open a time and space in which one can forget or cope with a difficult day-to-day life.

« Play to soothe, strengthen, grow […] play as a means of care, without a doubt. »

The new Access+ line of games not only makes the fun of games accessible to caregivers and those they care for. It does much more than that: It makes it possible to use games as part of care by adapting them, transforming them so that everyone—families, therapists and patients—can grow in conjunction with others.

Play to heal, perhaps… but play as a means of care, without a doubt.

Batlle, Aurélia

Batlle, Aurélia

Special educational needs teacher

Aurélia Batlle has been a school teacher and coordinator of the ULIS TFC (dedicated section for students with cognitive function disorders) section for 13 years. She founded the Pedaludys platform to share her edutainment practices and offer adaptations for dyslexic children. Aurélia is also board member of the Ludikaccess association, which aims to give disabled people wider access to games.

All learning can be considered in a playful way at different times in the classroom. Games are an ideal medium for helping students, especially those with learning difficulties, to accept making an effort and taking the risk of making a mistake in order to overcome a difficulty.

This activity helps develop academic, cognitive, social and psycho-affective skills. It enables students to become aware of the stages in their thinking, and so build cognitive tools that they can then use in the classroom and in their lives.

However, it is often necessary to adapt games to make them accessible to students with cognitive difficulties.

« The game is an ideal medium for getting students to accept that they need to make an effort and take the risk of making a mistake to overcome a difficulty. »

The Access+ versions are ideal for my students, who really enjoy playing with it.

Visual recognition and visuo-spatial processing are facilitated, attention is improved, the cards are easier to handle for dyspraxic children, and the creation of different levels of difficulty enables children to play equally. Their motivation is thus reinforced.

The variety of games offered by the Access+ range enables different skills necessary for school learning to be worked on: emotion regulation, inhibition, flexibility, language, mental imagery, memorization, motor skills and social interactions.

The game is not an end in itself, and students need to be aware of this. There are learning objectives behind this activity, which are clearly written on the games boxes and which enable metacognitive dialogue. This tool is indispensable for making students aware of what they need to work on or reinforce, in order to remedy their difficulties.