Wednesday, March 9th, 2016 11:50 am
I don't know if any of you guys can help with this, but if nothing else writing it all out will help me get it straight in my head.

So! I like to put wheelchair users in my games, because nobody else is going to. I feel reasonably confident writing/drawing people in my position: in a powerchair due to relatively recently acquired fatigue. Thanks to online research I also feel moderately confident with the Default Wheelchair User Character: a young, otherwise healthy paraplegic or amputee in a manual chair. The protagonist of SOON is this kind of character.

But I'm having trouble researching wheelchair using characters of other sorts, especially older people.

Character 1: An 60-70ish but otherwise healthy paraplegic with good arm strength who has been using a manual wheelchair for a long time. I distinctly recall hearing that anyone who uses a manual chair long enough, even if otherwise healthy, will eventually develop arm problems that make it impossible to keep using one. But google has not helped me find further information on this. The story covers a long period of time, so if he needs to have acquired the disability within the last X decades to retain arm strength I need to know what X is. (The arm strength is relevant to the plot)

Character 2: An 60ish person in a powerchair who is visibly disabled separately to the chair (eg the opposite of the Default Wheelchair Using Character). They're a helpful NPC in a puzzle game, and I like the idea of them being visibly disabled but their actual dialogue just being about puzzles. My initial plan was to draw on the appearance of Jillian Mercado (since, as a model, she hopefully wouldn't mind being used for this purpose) but looking her up I see she has Muscular Dystrophy, which is often progressive, so i don't know if it's plausible for someone in their 60s to look similar. I have similar worries about other conditions, since pretty much all the wheelchair users I know are around my age and I don't know if they're a good model for people with the same conditions but 30 years older.

So, any advice on long term conditions for someone in their 60s which would (a) require a wheelchair (preferably a powerchair) in the house (b) cause a "sick" looking appearance (c) allow them to live at home (with an ablebodied partner and possibly carers)(d)provide me with reference images, including expressions.

Some possibilities I am pondering, including possible age appropriate models: Stroke paralysis, Tim Curry. ALS, Stephen Hawking (communication would be slowed but it's all text based in game anyway). Quadriplegia? Cerebral palsy?
(the character is non binary so men and women are about equally useful)

In general: any other kinds of characters you'd like to see more of in games? I'm already going for diversity of ethnicity, gender, ability, and body type, but specific suggestions are always good! I definitely need more disabled characters who aren't in wheelchairs, but there's only two characters in this game and I want at least one wheelchair user in every game :)

Also, I hope I haven't inadvertently said something ignorant or hurtful, I know from personal experience that this kind of stuff can be sensitive.
Thursday, March 10th, 2016 09:13 pm (UTC)
These are based on real life, so I know they're realistic.

Deaf person in car crash: visibly disabled when communicating (esp with 7-1/2 fingers)

Paraplegic with blown shoulders changes to powerchair (Simi Linton's memoir My Body Politic)

Burn survivor in wheelchair (burn scar being particularly noticeable)

Quadriplegics with some shoulder function often are rehabbed to manual chairs initially, then switch to power to prevent fatigue.