Three years ago, when Ian Neumaier started to think about playing games as a way to bring people together, he had no idea what he was getting into.
“We didn’t have a full understanding of the environment and the systems at play,” said Neumaier who eventually founded the nonprofit Find Some Flow.
He began by making games that incorporated physical therapy for people with Parkinson’s disease. That morphed into working with children with autism and designing games for them. Finally, it evolved into a mobile locker filled with games for individuals of all abilities.
It’s a 5-by-6-foot locker, with accessibility provisions, Neumaier said.
“It has the (games) we have developed,” he said. “It has some take-home flyers, everything that we feel a family would need to be able to walk into a playground and identify immediately how they can play with and integrate with and collaborate with pretty much anyone on that playground regardless of their ability.”
There’s currently only one locker, built as part of an Eagle Scout project. Neumaier said he hopes to have a second locker by the summer and dreams of being able to produce them for distribution throughout the country.
Find Some Flow’s centerpiece is a game call Stonehenge.
“We have developed what is, as far as I know, the most integrative and inclusive sport in the world,” Neumaier said.
The game involves stacking tubes in Stonehenge-like structures while others are trying to knock them down.
Neumaier’s focus is to truly equalize the play experience.
“The basis of the solution that we have is that we create opportunities where there is no power differential, there is no need for charity for these interactions to be successful,” Neumaier said.
Neumaier said he sees his work as not only creating play opportunities, but also creating empathy for the struggles of those with disabilities and building relationships between those with and without disabilities, which he hopes will lead to more advocacy for disability rights.