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HOW PLAY IS AFFECTED IN
CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES
Hemangi Narvekar
Clinical Psychologist
PLAY
‘Play’ is sometimes contrasted with ‘work’ and characterized as a type
of activity which is essentially unimportant, trivial and lacking in any
serious purpose.
However, this view is mistaken.
Play in all its rich variety is one of the highest achievements of the
human species, alongside language, culture and technology.
PLAY
Play is what children do;
it is how they grow and learn.
The importance of play in a young
child's life cannot be over-stated; it
is their primary occupation,
impacting all areas of development.
United Nations’ the Convention on the
Rights of the Child (UNCRC)
Article 31
• The States Parties recognize the right of the child to rest and leisure,
to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of
the child and to freely participate in cultural life and the arts.
• The States Parties shall respect and promote the right of the child to
participate fully in cultural and artistic life and shall encourage the
provision of appropriate and equal opportunities for cultural, artistic,
recreational and leisure activity.
Play reflects a child's understanding of both the physical world and
their social world.
Play typically follows a development progression:
SIMPLE COMPLEX SELF OTHER
CONCRETE ABSTRACT
TYPES OF PLAY1. Physical Play -
Exploratory, Manipulative
and Constructive
2. Play with Objects
3. Symbolic Play
4. Pretend/socio-dramatic
Play
5. Games with Rules Sometimes individual children
like to play alone and sometimes
they enjoy playing with others:
1. Solitary play
2. Spectator play
3. Parallel play
4. Associative/partnership play
5. Co-operative play
IMPORTANCE OF PLAY
• Builds trust and mastery
• Fosters learning and acceptable behaviors
• Regulates emotions
• Reduces stress
• Encourages open and voluntary communication
• Promotes creative problem-solving
• Elevates spirit
CHILDREN WITH
DISABILITIES
A child's disability results in a mismatch between a natural drive to play
and the child's ability to play.
This mismatch is as disturbing as any barrier to development.
A disability, handicapping condition, or delay can affect how a child
plays, the kinds of play the child engages in.
Physical Disabilities
• Difficulty moving to the materials or areas available for play
• Difficulty manipulating materials in a constructive way
• Certain conditions, such as cerebral palsy, may also restrict the use of
speech.
Sensory Disabilities
• Difficulty with exploratory and imitation skills
• Difficulty to understand proper use of materials
• May not be able to respond to initiations by others
• May be perceived as uninterested in playing or interacting
• Opportunities for social play may be limited
Cognitive Disabilities
• May delay the development of play skills
• Difficulty engaging in high levels of socio-dramatic play
• More exploratory behaviors than direct play behaviors
Communication Disabilities
• Inhibit the child's ability to enter into or initiate play with others
• Trouble being understood by other children and adults
• Limit her/his ability to express desire for play materials or dislike of a
play activity ("I don't wanna")
• Interfere with ability to describe, extend, or control play with others
Social, Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities
• Constant withdrawal from others or from materials and activities restricts
the child from social play and from manipulation of objects.
• Aggressiveness may limit the types of activities that the child is invited to
join in by others and may lead to misuse and destruction of materials.
• Many children may have difficulty using pay as a tool for generalizing skills
because of their focus on repetitive or stereotypic use of materials.
Social, Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities
• Other children may have difficulty concentrating on specific pay activities long
enough for real involvement to occur.
• Some children may be extremely fearful of new things and may be unwilling to
risk exploration of materials with differing textures, size, or functions.
• The development of interactive play skills in handicapped children, which moves
from being adult oriented to object or toy oriented to peer oriented can inhibit
the development of social interactions with peers and delay the sequence of
social play development.
Medical Disabilities
• Health problems may be serious enough to hinder the development of play
skills or inhibit the use of play learning new skills.
• A child whose movement is restricted by a health condition such as severe
cardiac problems or asthma may tire easily and may engage in motor play
in only very limited ways.
• Children who have been hospitalized frequently may lack the ability to
initiate social or play interaction with other children.
Environmental Stressors
• Children living in poverty are often malnourished. Since playfulness
requires metabolic energy, poverty is often associated with low levels
of play.
• Parental over-supervision because of fears about allowing their
children to play outside relating to increases in traffic, crime,
harassment and violence, possible abduction, dirt and germs, etc.
• ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’ arising from children having very limited
access to the outdoors and natural environments
• Over scheduling and focus only on achievement, after-school
enrichment programs, increased homework, concerns about test
performance, etc.
These obstacles to engagement in play activities may result in
secondary disabilities such as increased dependence, decreased
imagination, poor social skills, learned helplessness and lack of
motivation.
References
• Hamilton, J. (2009). Young Children with Disabilities: How Play and Learning Skills
are Affected. Retrieved from https://www.brighthubeducation.com/special-ed-
inclusion-strategies/129109-how-disabilities-affect-the-development-of-play-
skills-in-young-children/
• Whitebread, D. (2012). The importance of play. A report on the value of children’s
play with a series of policy recommendations. Belgium: TIE.
How Play is affected in Children with Disabilities

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How Play is affected in Children with Disabilities

  • 1. HOW PLAY IS AFFECTED IN CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES Hemangi Narvekar Clinical Psychologist
  • 2. PLAY ‘Play’ is sometimes contrasted with ‘work’ and characterized as a type of activity which is essentially unimportant, trivial and lacking in any serious purpose. However, this view is mistaken. Play in all its rich variety is one of the highest achievements of the human species, alongside language, culture and technology.
  • 3. PLAY Play is what children do; it is how they grow and learn. The importance of play in a young child's life cannot be over-stated; it is their primary occupation, impacting all areas of development.
  • 4. United Nations’ the Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) Article 31 • The States Parties recognize the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to freely participate in cultural life and the arts. • The States Parties shall respect and promote the right of the child to participate fully in cultural and artistic life and shall encourage the provision of appropriate and equal opportunities for cultural, artistic, recreational and leisure activity.
  • 5. Play reflects a child's understanding of both the physical world and their social world. Play typically follows a development progression: SIMPLE COMPLEX SELF OTHER CONCRETE ABSTRACT
  • 6.
  • 7. TYPES OF PLAY1. Physical Play - Exploratory, Manipulative and Constructive 2. Play with Objects 3. Symbolic Play 4. Pretend/socio-dramatic Play 5. Games with Rules Sometimes individual children like to play alone and sometimes they enjoy playing with others: 1. Solitary play 2. Spectator play 3. Parallel play 4. Associative/partnership play 5. Co-operative play
  • 8. IMPORTANCE OF PLAY • Builds trust and mastery • Fosters learning and acceptable behaviors • Regulates emotions • Reduces stress • Encourages open and voluntary communication • Promotes creative problem-solving • Elevates spirit
  • 9. CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES A child's disability results in a mismatch between a natural drive to play and the child's ability to play. This mismatch is as disturbing as any barrier to development. A disability, handicapping condition, or delay can affect how a child plays, the kinds of play the child engages in.
  • 10. Physical Disabilities • Difficulty moving to the materials or areas available for play • Difficulty manipulating materials in a constructive way • Certain conditions, such as cerebral palsy, may also restrict the use of speech.
  • 11. Sensory Disabilities • Difficulty with exploratory and imitation skills • Difficulty to understand proper use of materials • May not be able to respond to initiations by others • May be perceived as uninterested in playing or interacting • Opportunities for social play may be limited
  • 12. Cognitive Disabilities • May delay the development of play skills • Difficulty engaging in high levels of socio-dramatic play • More exploratory behaviors than direct play behaviors
  • 13. Communication Disabilities • Inhibit the child's ability to enter into or initiate play with others • Trouble being understood by other children and adults • Limit her/his ability to express desire for play materials or dislike of a play activity ("I don't wanna") • Interfere with ability to describe, extend, or control play with others
  • 14. Social, Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities • Constant withdrawal from others or from materials and activities restricts the child from social play and from manipulation of objects. • Aggressiveness may limit the types of activities that the child is invited to join in by others and may lead to misuse and destruction of materials. • Many children may have difficulty using pay as a tool for generalizing skills because of their focus on repetitive or stereotypic use of materials.
  • 15. Social, Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities • Other children may have difficulty concentrating on specific pay activities long enough for real involvement to occur. • Some children may be extremely fearful of new things and may be unwilling to risk exploration of materials with differing textures, size, or functions. • The development of interactive play skills in handicapped children, which moves from being adult oriented to object or toy oriented to peer oriented can inhibit the development of social interactions with peers and delay the sequence of social play development.
  • 16. Medical Disabilities • Health problems may be serious enough to hinder the development of play skills or inhibit the use of play learning new skills. • A child whose movement is restricted by a health condition such as severe cardiac problems or asthma may tire easily and may engage in motor play in only very limited ways. • Children who have been hospitalized frequently may lack the ability to initiate social or play interaction with other children.
  • 17. Environmental Stressors • Children living in poverty are often malnourished. Since playfulness requires metabolic energy, poverty is often associated with low levels of play. • Parental over-supervision because of fears about allowing their children to play outside relating to increases in traffic, crime, harassment and violence, possible abduction, dirt and germs, etc. • ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’ arising from children having very limited access to the outdoors and natural environments • Over scheduling and focus only on achievement, after-school enrichment programs, increased homework, concerns about test performance, etc.
  • 18. These obstacles to engagement in play activities may result in secondary disabilities such as increased dependence, decreased imagination, poor social skills, learned helplessness and lack of motivation.
  • 19. References • Hamilton, J. (2009). Young Children with Disabilities: How Play and Learning Skills are Affected. Retrieved from https://www.brighthubeducation.com/special-ed- inclusion-strategies/129109-how-disabilities-affect-the-development-of-play- skills-in-young-children/ • Whitebread, D. (2012). The importance of play. A report on the value of children’s play with a series of policy recommendations. Belgium: TIE.