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Dan Thomas announced as an ambassador for Autistica Play

Dan Thomas
Dan Thomas
Head of Game Services 3 Sep 20192 minutes read

Head of Etch Play, Dan Thomas has joined forces with Autistica Play, on a mission to make the games industry more inclusive for the neurodivergent.

Over my *ahem* several years in industry, it's become apparent that the world of technology and in particular the gaming industry, attracts a lot of neurodivergent people. This correlation, both in terms of the people that work within those industries and the consumers that engage with them so passionately, is something I've always been intrigued by and proud of, as an enthusiast, participant and employer.

At the 2019 London Games Festival, Autistica held an event discussing "autism and gaming". Autistica are an autism research charity that have recently started a games-focused arm, coincidentally called Autistica Play. Autism and associated neurological conditions are an area close to my heart, and relevant to my personal life, so the opportunity to learn more was very welcome.

The Event

The event opened with a heartfelt introduction from CEO Jon Spiers, who offered some excellent insight into autism and the challenges (and more importantly the capabilities) of neurodivergent people. A panel of research experts and autistic folks working within the games industry shared their experiences and advice. One recurring theme was about creating more welcoming environments in workspaces and at events, and these sessions offered significant learnings for me.

For example, check out their guidance on the top ten game changers at work and events.

Becoming an ambassador

During the event, I got to discuss the topic further with Jake Mackey, who heads up the Autistica Play initiative and I was buoyed by his passion for making gaming more inclusive for neurodivergent people. As a result of that conversation, I have since become an ambassador for Autistica. This means I will be helping to raise the profile of the charity, and participating in fundraising opportunities and other associated initiatives. One of our first outputs of this collaboration was the offering of our excellent design team's expertise to help create a unique logo for Autistica Play, which we're all really proud of.

There'll be plenty more for us to share in the coming months, and we look forward to our relationship with Autistica continuing to grow and evolve in the future.

If you're interested in finding out more about Autistica Play check out the website, follow Jake on Twitter or contact us for more information.

For more about Etch Play, visit etchplay.com/work