Cognitive disorders: this studio puts board games at the service of healthcare

Improving cognitive skills, strengthening family ties, developing psychosocial skills, reducing the risk of neurodegenerative diseases… The list of benefits attributed to gambling grows as science grasps the subject. For several years now, there has been extensive research to verify it: playing board games benefits our social interactions. It can even be good for our mental health.

An intuition shared by the publisher Asmodee, convinced that in addition to its playful dimension, the board game can also have a positive impact in an educational, social or clinical environment.

Our neurons stimulated by the game

Towards the University Hospital of Nice. Philippe Robert is a professor of psychiatry there, director of the Cognition, Behavior & Technology (CoBTeK) and the speech therapy department at the University of Côte d’Azur. His areas of expertise include behavioral and psychological symptoms and the use of new technologies for diagnosis and stimulation in the elderly.

Like many health professionals, he manifests growing interest in non-drug interventions† Among them are the board games take a prominent place:Board games are not medicine that cures brain diseases! They do much more, because they help to live better, they contribute to improving the quality of life of patients.” explains the specialist.

A vision shared by Mathilde Tro, Director of the Non-drug Support Service at Korian France who accompanies the elderly and their loved ones: Play is essential at any age! Kids and adults play, so why shouldn’t the older one play more? The collective belief that the game should be reserved for children makes the use of this medium in the elderly unthinkable. In the context of supporting the elderly with a neuro-evolutionary pathology, play can be a very good mediator.”

Remedial Teachers, educational science doctors, hospital doctors, nurses, carers… Many of them experience the role and benefits of play in their daily practice in contact with patients. For 3 years, Asmodee Researchthe group’s Research and Development department Asmodeusone of the international leaders in the publishing and distribution of board games, has collaborated with these specialists in a new kind of creation studio.

Make games accessible to as many people as possible

Made in 2018, Asmodee Research aims to study and promote the benefits of the game. The missions are organized around three main areas: academic research, health and education† By connecting the different players in the gaming world, by investing in research and development, and by enabling professionals to use gaming more effectively in their activities, Asmodee Research wants to provide a more inclusive vision of board games.

After a thesis in neurophysiology, Mikaël Le Bourhis converted to the world of games out of passion. He has led the Asmodee Group’s Research and Development Department since its inception: “Everyone, regardless of his or her condition, should have access to the fun and benefits of board games and take advantage of the moments of happiness that this activity offers.

An ambition that precedes the creation of the family’s new studio Asmodee: “It’s about a equal and inclusive access to the game that the Access+ studio saw the light of day within the group in 2022.”

In collaboration with health professionalsthe teams ofAccess+ strive to develop a series including games, adapted to the largest number and in particular for people with cognitive impairments.

Access +: Games revisited for multiple benefits

Born from the demand and an identified need among health professionals and medico-social organizations, the range of games that will come out of the studio Access+ is the result of their feedback. “The cards and symbols have been enlarged to make them easier to handle, increasing levels of difficulty, booklets with educational solutions for carers… Everything has been thought of to increase the ease of use” explains Mikaël Le Bourhis.

Field tested and validated by professionals medical and recreational environments, they call for a broad spectrum of cognitive functions such as:attention and observation, impulsivity regulation, memory management short-term or long-term, logical-mathematical functions, the management of working memory, or even motor skills and mental images.

For Christophe Debien, hospital doctor in psychiatry who guided the process of making games Access+“The ambition of the new range is not limited to a simple meeting between the playful world and that of carers. She wants to go much further: put the game at the service of care, adapt, transform so that everyone – families, therapists and patients – can grow with others. Play to heal, perhaps… but play to heal, no doubt.’ Three first games, based on the success stories of publisher Asmodee, will be launched in September 2022 for healthcare professionals. The studio Access+ already plans to distribute some of the profits in the form of donation to charity that helps people to live better with their disabilities.

To discover Access+ board games, it’s here!

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