Play Based Therapy – What is it and How Can it be Beneficial for my Child?

17 Aug, 2020

Play-based therapy is a structured approach to therapy widely used by occupational therapists to engage children in improving functional growth and emotional well-being.

While it may look like ordinary playtime, play therapy is much more than that. Combined with formal assessments, play-based therapy is used by your therapist to gain insight into a child’s functional abilities and where there may be areas for improvement to form a basis for goal-directed therapy.

Children use play to learn and express what is troubling them when they do not have the verbal language to express it and the toys act like the words with play as the language.

Play provides the opportunity for children to develop insight into internal conflicts and problem-solving during social situations to enable them to gain a better understanding of their emotions and how to regulate them to form a good interaction with others as they develop.

Play based therapy

Benefits of Play Therapy:

  • Stronger social skills
  • Developing coping strategies to difficult situations
  • Create problem-solving skills
  • Increase empathy and respect for others
  • Learning to experience and express emotions
  • Strong family relationships
  • Encourage the use of language and enhance communication with others
  • Alleviation of anxiety
  • Taking responsibility for certain behaviours
  • Improve fine and gross motor development

How Does Play Therapy Work?

There is a communications gap between adults and children depending on the age and stage of development, children simply do not have the language skills of adults and at times this can result in a misinterpretation or completely miss the verbal and non-verbal cues to read how your child is feeling.

Since a child can’t adequately express themselves in the adult world, a therapist will join the child in their world on their level where they express and act out their inner feelings.

As they play, children become less guarded and more open with their interactions and feelings to form a strong therapeutic relationship with the therapist and others when they join in play-based activities.

Play therapy will differ depending on the therapist and the particular needs of the child and to begin the therapist may like to simply stand back and watch your child interact with their toys and see how they play independently, with others involved and when parents are nearby or included.

Much is revealed in how a child interacts with various toys and how behaviour changes from session to session and from here, tailored therapy goals are assessed and created collaboratively with the family to form a direction for therapy and work towards addressing parental concerns.

How Can Gen Physio Help With Your Child Concerns?

Gen Physio is entirely community-based, this means we can implement therapies in the following ways:

  • Within your home which is your child’s safe space
  • Using your child’s favourite toys so what we do in sessions can carry over into the home environment when we are not there and provide parent coaching opportunities to work on within the home
  • We will bring our own toys and equipment with us to introduce to your child to explore different interactions and adaptability to achieve therapy goals
  • We can conduct school and daycare visits (with permission from a parent/caregiver and the school) to observe social skills and environmental interaction

If you feel your child may be experiencing some difficulties with:

  • Social skills
  • Fine and gross motor development
  • Emotional regulation
  • Difficult behaviours

Gen Physio provide mobile occupational therapy. Get in contact with us now to organise a home visit assessment with one of our occupational therapists.

Written by Rebekah Judd

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