Tickets on sale now!

Tanwen Ward

A Journey of Belonging: Autistic adults engagement with TRPGs

A presentation by Tanwen Ward BSocSci(Hons), (she/her)

TAGGS 2024 was Proudly Sponsored by

About this Event

The therapeutic applications of TRPGs are increasingly being focused on within research. One of these applications is in working with the neurodiverse community. However, accessing therapeutic services can be difficult, so this PhD research project set out to investigate the experiences of autistic adults playing private tabletop role-playing games, using a constructivist grounded theory methodology. The culmination of this research project is a constructivist grounded theory that describes a journey of belonging, from connecting and participating, to committing and supporting, and finding belonging through strengthening bonds and building understanding.

This session will involve a presentation of the journey of belonging and the process of developing the theoretical framework, the lessons the researcher has learned from conducting qualitative research on TRPG engagement, and a discussion of how these findings may be applied within geek culture in therapy.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe and discuss the stages of connecting, participating, committing, supporting, and the significance of these phases in fostering a sense of belonging for autistic adults through TRPG engagement.
  2. Explain the process of developing a constructivist grounded theory framework and its relevance in understanding and addressing the needs of the neurodiverse community within TRPG settings.
  3. Describe key takeaways and insights derived from conducting qualitative research on TRPG engagement with autistic adults, including challenges, successes, and unexpected findings.
  4. Gain insights into the experiences and needs of the neurodiverse community through the lens of TRPG engagement and how these insights contribute to building a more inclusive therapeutic approach.


·     Rosqvist, H. B., Chown, N., & Stenning, A. (2020). Neurodiversity Studies: A New Critical Paradigm. Taylor and Francis.

·     Ryan, S., & Milton, D. (2023). The Routledge international handbook of critical autism studies. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

·     Bowden, N., Thabrew, H., Kokaua, J., Audas, R., Milne, B., Smiler, K., . . . Gibb, S. (2020). Autism spectrum disorder/Takiwātanga: An integrated data infrastructure-based approach to autism spectrum disorder research in New Zealand. Autism.

·     Bowman, S. L., & Lieberoth, A. (2018). Psychology and role-playing games. In J. P. Zagal & S. Deterding (Eds.), Role-Playing Game Studies: Transmedia Foundations (pp. 245-264). Routledge.

·     Kōhei, K. (2019). Employing tabletop role-playing games (TRPGs) in social communication support measures for children and youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in Japan: A hands-on report on the use of leisure activities. Japanese Journal of Analog Role-Playing Game Studies, 1(1), 23-28.

·     Bryant, A., & Charmaz, K. (2019). The SAGE Handbook of Current Developments in Grounded Theory (A. Bryant & K. Charmaz, Eds.). SAGE Publications, Ltd.

April 19, 2024, 06:45 PM

Applied TTRPG

06:45 PM - 08:15 PM

About The Presenters

Tanwen Ward

Tanwen Ward BSocSci(Hons), (she/her)

Clinical psychology trainee, PhD candidate