Children learn through play; they learn how to control their motor skills and learn about the world around them. For children who require physical therapy, this crucial playtime may not come so easily. Luckily, play therapy can help children to learn those play skills. This type of therapy can be especially useful for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
What are the Benefits of Play Therapy?
Play fosters all sorts of valuable skills in children. Children who have difficulties with self-regulation and social skills development can benefit from play therapy by learning self control, resiliency, body awareness, Causality, and problem solving. Having these skills helps children to interact with their peers and the world around them in a more positive and healthy way.
3 Ways to Play
There are three main strategies that many therapists utilize when engaging in play therapy. These help children to internalize their roles as well as make sense of the world around them. These three methods of play therapy are:
This is when the therapist makes changes to the play environment to better facilitate healthy play. This can include positioning toys and items, removing distractions from the environment, adding visual supports, and physically demonstrating the If…Then Contingent.
These are toys or games that are specially constructed to help a child develop specific skills. This can include naming parts of toys, using toys that require hand-over-hand motions, and using toys that encourage the development of problem-solving skills.
Adaptive play settings have been modified to meet the specific needs of children with disabilities. This can include adding more textures to toys in order to make them easier to grip and play with, using an app that is specially designed to promote certain skills, or supplementing playtime with therapy balls, swings, or rocking chairs for extra stimulation during play.
The Connections Therapy Center
The Connections Therapy Center serves families of children and adolescents with disabilities and special needs. We are a team of experts in the fields of pediatric speech, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, and behavioral sciences. As a team, we offer intensive hands-on therapy for children and adolescents, as well as informative and useful resources for families. If you are interested in learning more about what we can do to help your family, visit us online or give us a call at (202) 561-1110 (Washington, D.C. office) or (301) 577-4333 (Lanham office). Want to get more information on how to help your child thrive? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest.