They say play is the “work” of children, but play can be so much more. Often during our therapy sessions the children take over with their imagination, challenging us to adapt our goals to become part of the mutual play session. We think we are prepared to incorporate physical, occupational or speech therapy goals into a session with Spiderman, but instead – in will come a detective or the karate kid and adjustments have to be made!
We go with the flow and work on core strengthening for improved posture for standing and walking and breath support for speech while fending off imaginary sharks sitting on the “ball raft” (aka the therapy ball)making sure our feet do not touch the “ocean” (aka the gym mat) . Other times we may be coordinating standing with writing skills as we write down facts about the crime case, as we “Detectives” practice our speech goals and solve the case.
When the child gets to lead the play, there is so much motivation to work toward goals. Additionally, the goals become meaningful to the child and carried over in the home during play with siblings. After all, we have to have stronger tummy muscles to be able to shoot our “spidey“ webs! It is through play we all get to enjoy our work.
Mary Dawson, Program Director – Children’s Therapy Program, Easter Seals Greater Houston