Better Care

Traffic Life Game gets green light!

A new board game designed to help people with learning disability understand how to form and develop relationships has been launched by BCHC.

The Traffic Life Game was inspired by resources clinicians made to help people with learning disabilities explore interpersonal relationships by discussing a range of scenarios.

Laura Ogi, clinical lead psychologist in learning disabilities at BCHC until 2016, said:

“We started running a relationships group in 2008 to help people with learning disability understand the difference between types of relationship.

“It’s common for people with a learning disability to need support in understanding how to interact appropriately from one social setting to another.

“For example, what is meant by a hug? How do you know whether it is platonic or something else? What if a friend refuses a request for money? It’s understanding that this person can still be your friend.

Traffic Life Game launch
(l-r) BCHC clinical lead for innovation Dr Clive Thursfield; game creator Dr Laura Ogi; innovation manager Hamid Zolfagharinia.

“Adults with learning disability have often had reduced exposure to a variety of social situations and, for very good reasons, a supportive family may have sheltered them somewhat growing up.

“So, they need a safe space to build understanding that relationships are complicated and can change quickly. It’s understanding the ‘greys’, when people with learning disabilities tend to look only for ‘blacks’ and ‘whites’.”

Laura’s team developed a set of social scenarios, to be read out in turn and considered by the group. After listening, each participant is encouraged to indicate their assessment of the situation described by displaying one of a set of three colour-coded ‘traffic life’ cards.

The judgements and understanding of the interpersonal issues are then used as a prompt for discussion and learning.

As part of BCHC’s mission to encourage imagination and creativity in supporting patients and service users, a partnership was forged between learning disability services, the research and innovation team and learning and development board game specialists Focus Games.

The result of the £10,000 project has been the Traffic Life Game, which develops Laura’s original concept in an attractive, professional package to be played by people with learning disabilities in clinically supported groups and also at home with family or friends.

Innovation manager Hamid Zolfagharinia said: “The feedback so far has been excellent and we’ve already had interest from other organisations.

“There is huge expertise and creativity among our colleagues and this is a fine example of how we can develop that spirit of innovation for the benefit of service users.”