Staying Engaged at the Table: Tips for Neurodivergent Gamers

Staying Engaged at the Table: Tips for Neurodivergent Gamers

Hello adventurers! Tabletop role-playing games (TRPGs) like Dungeons & Dragons offer an incredible world of imagination and fun. However, staying focused and engaged during lengthy sessions can be challenging, especially for neurodivergent gamers with conditions such as ADHD or autism. Finding ways to entertain or stimulate yourself without disrupting the game is key to having a positive experience for everyone at the table. Here are some tips and activities that can help you stay engaged and enjoy your gaming sessions to the fullest.

  1. Quiet Crafting

Bringing a quiet, hands-on activity to the table can help you stay engaged without causing a distraction. Some great options include:


Knitting or Crocheting: These repetitive motions can be soothing and help you focus on the game. Just make sure your project is simple and doesn’t require too much concentration.


Doodling or Colouring: Keep a sketchbook or colouring book handy. Doodling can help you listen better and stay attentive to the game’s progress.


Origami: Folding paper into different shapes can be a relaxing activity. It’s quiet and doesn’t require a lot of space.

  1. Fidget Toys

Fidget toys can provide sensory stimulation and help you focus. Opt for ones that are silent or very quiet, such as:


  • Stress Balls: Squeezing a stress ball can help release pent-up energy.


  • Tangle Toys: These twistable toys can be manipulated quietly and are great for keeping your hands busy.


  • Fidget Spinners: Look for noiseless options that you can spin under the table without distracting others.

  1. Taking Notes

Taking notes during the game can help you stay engaged and keep track of important details. You can:


  • Track the Story: Write down key plot points, NPC names, and significant events. This can help you stay connected to the narrative.


  • Character Journal: Keep a journal from your character’s perspective. Note their thoughts, feelings, and goals. This can deepen your role-playing experience.


  • Draw Maps: Sketching maps of locations can help visualise the game world and keep your mind focused.


  1. Stay Involved in Role-Playing

Actively participating in role-playing can keep you engaged. Here are some tips:


  • Ask Questions: Stay curious about the game world and your fellow players’ characters. Asking questions can keep the conversation flowing and maintain your interest.


  • Prepare Dialogue: Think ahead about what your character might say or do in different situations. This can keep you mentally engaged and ready to contribute.


  • Small Movements: If you’re someone who needs to move, try small, unobtrusive movements like tapping your foot lightly or shifting your weight.

  1. Snack Mindfully

Having a small snack can help keep your energy levels up. Choose snacks that are quiet to eat and not too messy, such as:


  • Fruit Slices: Apples, grapes, and berries are easy to munch on without causing a disturbance.


  • Nuts or Trail Mix: These are great for sustained energy and easy to portion control.


  • Cheese Cubes or String Cheese: These are quiet to eat and can be quite satisfying.

  1. Set Personal Breaks

If you find it hard to sit still for long periods, set personal breaks. Discuss with your group ahead of time that you might need to step away briefly. Use these breaks to:


  • Stretch: Get up and stretch to release physical tension.


  • Walk Around: A quick walk around the room can help reset your focus.


  • Breathe: Take a few deep breaths to calm your mind and body.

  1. Communicate with Your Group

Communication is key to a positive gaming experience. Let your group know what helps you stay focused and engaged. Most groups are understanding and supportive when they know what you need.

In conclusion, finding ways to stay engaged at the table without disrupting others can enhance your enjoyment and contribute to a better experience for everyone. Whether it’s quiet crafting, fidget toys, taking notes, or setting personal breaks, there are many strategies to keep your mind active and focused. Remember, the goal is to have fun and create memorable stories with your friends. Happy adventuring!

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