Video games for children and adolescents with special educational needs

Kevin Durkin, James Boyle, Simon Hunter, Gina Conti-Ramsden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


Almost all children play video games at some point and many play regularly. Not only are games ubiquitous in children's leisure environments but the motivational and skill-enhancing potentialities of this technology are being exploited increasingly in education. Good quality games, which are challenging, instructive, and absorbing, can make learning enjoyable and effective. But is this the case for children who struggle in school? This paper reviews the emerging literature on video game uses by children with special educational needs. With reference to both entertainment games and "serious'' games, we consider (i) the implications of developmental and learning disabilities for game play, (ii) the potential of games to address special cognitive and educational needs, and (iii) the social potential of game play. Gaps in current knowledge are identified and directions for future research are outlined.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-89
Number of pages11
JournalZeitschrift für Psychologie / Journal of Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • adolescents
  • educational technology
  • learning
  • special education
  • video games
  • developmental disability


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