Content of the article: "Advice for accommodating players who are autistic or dyslexic?"
I have one player who has dyslexia, autism, and ADHD. In our new campaign, they’ll be playing a warlock, so I want to see if I can do anything to prepare myself and avoid some of the mistakes of our old campaign. They’re a lovely player, and one of the best role players, and I wouldn’t want any other, but I admit I’m rather ill-informed on these mental problems, or on how to help accommodate them in my game. (For those curious, when asking them, they don’t know where exactly they fall on the autism spectrum. The only thing they were able to tell me definitively is that it’s not Asperger’s.)
Mainly, the majority of our issues come into combat. They have trouble reading their sheet, and usually, when they make their own, it’s messy and disorganized and they can’t find their most important stats, even if they’ve written it down. I’ve decided to essentially fill out their sheet for them every level up—which has worked exponentially better—but even still, they have their good days and bad days, and sometimes can’t read their sheet without needing someone else to read it for them.
The dyslexia aspect of it also has the potential to mess up their reading of dice rolls. Though I’ve not caught them doing it, a part of me suspects they’re misreading their numbers from time to time—sometimes their dice rolls are abnormally low or abnormally high, more so than the other players. This wouldn’t be so much of a problem if it didn’t sometimes draw the ire of other players who may start becoming suspicious of them.
Communicating with them can be a problem, but it’s usually better if I call instead of message.
And, finally, they’ve of course had trouble following the story and the rules. As for the story, they always seem to have a lot of fun, but sometimes it seems they have a misunderstanding of plot points that others were maybe able to get with ease, and sometimes that can lead to confusion at the table. Sometimes it may happen on the short term—for example, maybe I’ll be describing an NPC, but this player may mistake them for another NPC or maybe not understand where they are during the encounter even if I’ve explained it. As for the rules, they can mess up—especially with magic, which is already confusing as it is—or may consistently forget the rolls they need to roll for their attacks or spells, or maybe smaller concepts like advantage vs disadvantage. For example, they used to have their frostbite cantrip as a go-to—but they would constantly forget the rules of the spell, often rolling a d20 when it wasn’t required of them (with frostbite, the enemy makes a CON save), or not understanding why it failed or succeeded.
The only thing I’ve considered and ruled out is restricting them to purely martial classes because it would be simpler—quite frankly, they have no interest in this, and I’d rather them have a lot of fun even if they’re slightly confused then understand everything and be absolutely bored.
So, DMs, what do you think, and what can you offer? I’m willing to answer any questions to help bring some clarity.
Edit for clarification: to help you guys understand and get the right connotation, they’re able to have conversations decently well and at first glance seem absolutely normal, if a little eccentric. When we first started our old campaign, I didn’t even know those issues existed.
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