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Dad Builds Custom Video Game Controller For His Daughter

RORY STEEL: A man by the name of Rory Steel finished an important project this weekend.

(SOUNDBITE OF VIDEO)

STEEL: So, Ava, how is it? Is it good?

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

He created a custom video game controller for his 9-year-old daughter Ava. Steel tweeted out a video of his daughter trying out the new controller on The Legend Of Zelda.

(SOUNDBITE OF VIDEO)

STEEL: So you got your controller there. Do you want to walk around for a bit and show people how you can walk around?

NOEL KING, HOST:

With a green joystick and a huge smile, Ava makes her character run forward. She and her younger brother have a condition called hereditary spastic paraplegia, so typical controllers don't work for them.

STEEL: The buttons are all very close together. And the joystick with the thumb, she can't really use the joystick with her thumb alone. She needs her whole hand to, like, grab hold of a joystick.

MARTIN: So the controller that Steel assembled is a big flat panel that actually fits in Ava's lap. It has a pair of arcade-style joysticks with large knobs surrounded by spaced out glowing buttons. He says that putting it together took some patience, but...

STEEL: It's not that technical I'm not going to say it's easy, easy, but it's not beyond people that are willing to have a go.

KING: And Ava's new controller means that she's not left out of games that the other kids like.

STEEL: That's the thing she's most sensitive about is the fact that she wants to be the same as everybody else. And every little thing that we can do to make sure that she's on a par with her friends really helps her self-esteem and her confidence.

MARTIN: And, Steel says, it has given him and his daughter a new way to bond.

STEEL: She's absolutely loving the fact that she can play along with her father.

KING: To that end, Steel plans to post video instructions so that other people can make the controllers themselves.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE GREATEST BITS' "GERUDO VALLEY") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


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