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Video games are a ‘great equalizer’ for people with disabilities

Edward C. Baig

Gaming has been a huge part of Erin Hawley’s life since she started playing Atari as a little girl.

When the Keyport, New Jersey-based, 35-year-old digital content producer for the Easterseals charity gets off work, she gets right on her computer or Xbox and often keeps going until it’s time for bed.

Hawley is a fan of shooter titles such as “Overwatch” and “Half-Life,” but she’ll play adventure games, puzzles, almost anything. She’s also a regular on the Amazon-owned Twitch live streaming platform.

Gaming is how Hawley typically relaxes, interacts with friends and takes her mind off things.

And it provides a social outlet for other purposes: Hawley has Muscular Dystrophy, anxiety, and scoliosis, and she is an advocate for the disabled.

She created a blog called The Geeky Gimp. Through her work with Easterseals, Hawley has helped foster communities of young women with disabilities called Thrive, where she facilities discussions around gaming, technology and living life with a disability.

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