Guide to using play to support children with additional needs

The Northern Ireland-based Playboard charity has published a new guide that will help child professionals in using play to support children with additional needs.

Playboard NI, which was set up in 1985, performs a valuable role in championing the rights of youngsters with additional needs in the province through play, through lobbying, researching, promoting best practice and working alongside other stakeholders.

It sees play as an ‘intrinsic aspect’ of children and young people’s lives, based on the premise that play is fundamental for a healthy and happy childhood.

While Playboard’s new publication, Supporting children with additional needs through play, is aimed mainly at parents/carers in the home environment, the ideas it puts forward could be equally well used by practitioners and childcare providers to support children.

‘Many play activities can be modified’

It provides a variety of ideas for how parents, carers and professionals can get creative in developing ideas for play that stimulate and stretch youngsters’ minds and bodies. Inclusivity, of course, is the key here, and the publication crucially talks about how many play activities can be modified and adapted to cater for children with additional needs.

“Play is incredibly valuable for all children, it allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity and physical, cognitive and emotional strength,” says the guide. “For a child with an additional need, their specific need may sometimes make it difficult for them to fully enjoy the experience of independent play without help. These additional need/s may be caused by physical, learning, behavioural, sensory and complex challenges.”

Click here for more about Playboard NI.

Author: Simon Weedy

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