Functional recovery of children with disabilities requires the involvement of several specialties. Play therapy is one of the most relevant therapies known among them.
Play therapy is a pretty new disciplinein Moldova, not yet officially adopted into the nomenclature of specialties for functional recovery. However, more and more disabled children in our country benefit from play therapy services in various rehabilitation centers, Tony Hawks Centre being among the first to introduce this method.
The central idea is that “If play is the vehicle by which individuals become masters of their environments, then they should play with the most powerful of therapeutic tools”.
The game is the primary occupation for children, they love to play. Hence, functional recovery specialists must acknowledge the importance of play when working with small patients. Thanks to volunteers from the UK, the USA and France, Tony Hawks Center employees have mastered effective methods of functional rehabilitation through play.
We use play as a therapy aiming to improve:
– Fine motor skills;
– Global motricity;
– Cognitive skills etc.
According to occupational therapy research, children with special needs play differs from that of their peers without special needs. Play deficiency in this case is primarily due to inconsistency with child’s chronological age. Another issue is the mismatch between child’s skills and his play preferences. Skills assessment prior to applying play therapy is particularly important in such cases. Once playing deficiencies are detected, the goal of intervention is to improve playing skills.
Usually while playing, children ask themselves “What can I do with this object?” rather than “What is the use of this object?”. Keeping this in mind, play therapists can turnnon-ludic interaction into play.
Interaction with a play therapist or with parents at home is one of the keys to success of this method. For the efficient use of play as a therapeutic method, it is important to remember that play is a child-environment transaction. Through play, children feel deeply motivated; he acquires internal control and release from objective reality.
In order to optimize the results in child development, parents need not only specialists in this field, but also appropriate educational toys. Limited financial resources and lack of community resources represent a critical impediment in development of this method in Moldova.
According to a personal research, there are 4 toy libraries in Chişinău, but none of them has necessary equipment for children with special needs. Also,they don’t offer the chance to borrow toys for home activities.
We are happy to open the first toy library for children with special needs at Tony Hawks Centre.
The beneficiaries of this toy library are children with special needs who attend Tony Hawks Center, scheduled in advance.
Wish you the most inspiredplay with your children!
Pediatrician, Physical medicine and rehabilitation