In this paper, we investigate different types of collaborative interaction that children in special education may engage in when playing co-located collaborative games. The work used a qualitative approach for studying three different games (2 digital, 1 boardgame) to understand how they provide opportunities for collaborative interaction to children (aged 12 years) in special education. To analyse the gameplay sessions, we used the three levels of collaborative interaction from Activity Theory (AT) as a frame of reference, and we combined this model with gameplay design patterns (GDPs) to express and encode the differences in collaborative interaction between and within the playtests. An important finding is that children do indeed display different levels of collaborative interaction. Furthermore, our paper demonstrates how the three levels of collaborative interaction as defined in AT combined with GDPs can be used to analyse and describe collaborative gameplay actions between children in special education, and it provides insight in a number of gameplay design elements that may support the occurrence of higher levels of collaborative interaction.