Minecraft nights reconnect kids with disabilities
ULTRA-successful video game Minecraft is all about building fantasies, but one group of Rockhampton kids is using it to build friendships.
Kalynn and Shane Kostuch's sons Noah and Terry are two children involved in the Umbrella Network's CQ Kids Connecting gaming nights.
Noah, 9, is autistic, and Terry, 17, has intellectual impairments.
The monthly event is held for a mix of children with and without disabilities, to give them a chance to interact and bond without fear of judgment.
Kalynn said she first heard about the gaming nights from Facebook, and knew she had to take the boys to join.
"They are just Minecraft mad... there's another place where they can go and get different secrets on what to do and have different kids to play with," she said.
"And because they do have disabilities, and knowing it was going to be a safe place for them as well."
So far only one evening Minecraft event has been held, but more than 50 children and their parents attended.
Kalynn said the functions were just as beneficial for the children's parents.
"It was good because we got to sit outside and have a break; the kids get a chance to play and we don't have to worry about them," she said.
"A lot of the times when you go out with kids with disabilities, you are always judged.
"Here, all the kids have some form of disability so everyone accepts everyone... all the kids get along. It's really good."
The Minecraft nights are held on the first Friday of every month at 4.30pm. For further details, or to join, contact the CQ Kids Connecting Facebook page.
What is it?
Made in 2009, Minecraft is based around breaking and placing blocks.
People build structures to protect against monsters, but players can work together to create whatever they imagine.
Players can explore, resource gather, craft and take part in combat.
The game is available on console, computer and app.