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Affording Children Access to Play


Affording Children Access to Play Through Assistive Technology All About Play today Impact of play on development Role of play in special needs programs Designing ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Affording Children Access to Play

Affording Children Access to Play
  • Through Assistive Technology

All About Play today
  • Impact of play on development
  • Role of play in special needs programs
  • Designing play spaces toys for ALL children
  • Assistive technology supports what to look for
  • Selecting and adapting toys
  • Extending play opportunities

Lets Play! Projects
  • US Dept of Education funding since 1995
  • Projects focus on play needs of families with
    children with disabilities
  • Projects provide research education to parents,
    caregivers and professionals who work with these
  • Collaborate with toy manufacturers/ vendors to
    utilize universal design features

What is Play?
  • Its like a slinky
  • It morphs and constantly changes
  • There is no right way to do it
  • It becomes, evolves, builds on experiences
  • Defines and is defined by self
  • Life-long

When Children Play, They.....
  • are intrinsically motivated
  • are active
  • make play up as they go along
  • start and stop when they want to
  • they have fun!!!!!!!!

When Children Work, They May Not..
  • be intrinsically motivated
  • be active
  • be making it up as they go along
  • start and stop when they want to
  • have fun!!!!!!!!

Play is the work of children
Why Focus on Play?
Play Influences Development
  • Physical
  • Social
  • Emotional
  • Language
  • Cognition
  • Imagination

Play is what kids do..
  • Children learn through play - the primary
    activity for healthy development of young
  • All the skills children need originate from play
    literacy, creativity, self-esteem, mathematical
    reasoning social skills.

When I am building sorting
  • I learn about height, length, depth and weight
  • I learn to cooperate, share, plan and negotiate
  • I experience symmetry, balance and patterns
  • I gain feelings of competence
  • I use my imagination and creativity

When I Look at Books
  • I make friends with books identify favorites
    familiar stories
  • I learn that printed books have meaning
  • I learn about other people and places
  • I develop important reading and listening skills
    with an adult

When I Play Pretend...
  • I practice what I see and hear learn to
    understand and master adult roles
  • I practice math, social language skills
  • I am organizing and using ideas
  • I symbolically use materials in meaningful ways

How do we know.. theorists
  • Jean Piaget- describes learning that happens
    during play
  • Play, Dreams and Imitation in Childhood (1962)
  • L.S. Vygotsky- children develop cognitive
    abilities through social play
  • Mind in Society (1978)

Play Benefits What Research Says
  • Cognitive potential/ability is reflected through
  • Using imagination in pretend play leads to
    improved school readiness
  • Connections exist between play and emergent
    literacy language

  • Play provides opportunities to negotiate
  • Good players become good problem-solvers
  • The more a child is spoken to, sung to, read to,
    danced with, exercised, played with, encouraged
    to explore in a safe environment - the more the
    brain and body will develop.

Play Brain Development
  • Brain development before the age of one year is
    more rapid and extensive than previously realised
    - the brain nearly triples in size within the
    first year of life.
  • Play appears to improve brain development
  • Activity increases brain engagement
  • Reinforces neural connections
  • Decreases stress and reduces levels of cortisol
  • Brain development is much more vulnerable to
    environmental influences than suspected. This
    includes not only nutrition but also the quality
    of interaction, care and stimulation

But anti-play influences abound
  • Working parents have less time and energy to
    devote to fostering a playful childhood for their
    children. (i.e. clean clothes!)
  • Barriers to play include over-scheduling an
    over-emphasis on early academic achievement
  • Schools increasingly eliminate the "playful" part
    school curtailing recess, gym, sports, and arts.
  • Playing for Keeps 6/2003

  • With parental safety concerns, unsupervised
    outdoor play is restricted -especially for young
  • Not all kids have playgrounds in their
    neighborhoods or homes with usable toys.
  • Programs for children with disabilities
    under-value the importance of play
  • Cultural, socioeconomic and disability issues
    threaten to create yet another generation of
    adults who don't know how to play together.

Lets Look at Play!
How to promote successful play opportunities for
ALL children
Is Play Important?
  • When a child cannot play, we should be as
    troubled as when he refuses to eat or sleep
    (Hartley Goldenson, 1963)
  • Play is so integral to childhood that a child
    who does not have opportunities to play is cut
    off from a major portion of childhood.

Is Play the Same for All Kids?
Play of Young Children with Disabilities
  • Use little language
  • Engage in less group play play alone more often
  • Often have low social status are perceived as
    less appealing play partners
  • (Linder, 1994)
  • Play is less sophisticated,
  • less organized
  • Use toys in more functional and ritualistic ways
  • less pretending

Kids with disabilities may not experience the
same gains from play if their play is limited.
How Do Play and Therapy or Education Fit Together?
Therapy or Education
Uses of Play
  • As a therapeutic/ educational modality
  • Toys are used to distract or motivate

Uses of Play
  • 2. To improve play skills
  • Toys are selected to develop specific abilities
  • Emphasis is on the right way to play

Uses of Play
  • 3. To promote Playfulness(A. Bundy)
  • Play characteristics such as engagement,
    exuberance,persistence, use of
    mischief,pretense, initiating, sharing, giving
    and responding to cues
  • Emphasis on promoting fantasy play

Balancing Intervention Play
  • MAKE SURE there room for both in the day and life
    of the child and his/her family!

A Mismatch???
  • Play in the lives of typically developing
  • critical to development
  • effects all growth domains
  • valued as the occupation of childhood
  • Play in the lives of children with
  • used as a therapeutic/ educational modality
  • seen to develop specific skills
  • rarely seen as an IFSP outcome

What Does This Mean?
  • Kids with disabilities need opportunities
    to play for the sake of play.

Looking at Play
  • Allison and Dominic at 3 years old

Is Play Happening?
  • Intrinsically motivated?
  • Active?
  • Make play up as s/he goes along?
  • Start and stop when s/he wants to?
  • Having fun?

What Weve Observed About Play Kids with
  • Kids perform optimally when they are playing
  • Unforeseen outcomes often emerge

  • A tendency towards learned helplessness is
  • Supports should be considered at typical ages
    dont wait!

  • The intervention of an adult as an initiator,
    modeler, participant enhancer of play
    repertoires may be understated
  • Encouraging early access to play empowers
    families to see the child inside

  • Adaptations to play materials and play strategies
    are necessary
  • Inclusive play opportunities benefit kids

What Can Providers Do?
  • Validate the importance of play
  • Discuss development during play
  • Give families permission to play
  • Recognize share positive play supports and
  • Incorporate play into your services suggest
    ways to extend play
  • Encourage more child and family play

FREE Lets Play! Products
  • How We Play!
  • Playing with Switches
  • Computer Play with Young Children with
  • Creating Play Environments
  • Let's Play Sheets
  • Collection of Articles
  • A Guidebook for Developing and Maintaining a
    Play Assistive Technology Lending Library
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