Play to Assess Special Children’s Needs

The play has been identified to be an exceptionally accurate method of identifying the needs of children who suffer from both physical and psychological disabilities. This is mainly because of its ability to engage the child on a more personal level to a point where his or her inherent characteristics are openly manifested. Children with disabilities often have unique needs that differ from the rest of the children in both the school setting and their homes. These needs are extremely manifested during their play activities where they are unable to engage in normal play as compared to the rest of the children or what is identified as the general expectation of children of their age.

Teachers or guardians can identify different challenges that the child may have in engaging in what they may identify as normal play. This may often be a sign that there may be future manifestations of underlying disabilities. It is often identified that the progressive nature of play, from when the child is less than two years old to his or her teenage, defines his or her abilities as a person. This is used to identify disabilities that often manifest themselves while the child is more mature.

Play can also be used to identify the extent of disability in a child, especially where levels of disabilities affect the cognitive functioning of children differently. The fact that some disabilities may be identified at a later time means that the opportunity to discover most of the nonphysical disabilities may be delayed or missed altogether until it is too late. Through play activities, the progression of a child through the growth process can be carefully monitored to identify any challenges that may be warranted by physical disabilities. Play activities and materials are categorized in different groups, often based on age. The particular choice of play activity, as well as play material, is then advised by the universally accepted abilities of a child in that particular age. Where a child may be unable to engage in the play activity or use the play material, further investigations may be conducted to identify the reason behind this inability. It may not always be disability-related, but it sure does help in identifying disabilities at an early age.

Play can also be used in identifying ways of compensating for some of the disabilities that children suffer. This is by identifying their strengths, which are often manifested by their need to compensate over their inability to engage in certain play activities. The fact that several disabilities can be treated or rehabilitated if diagnosed at an early age means that play activities are crucial in the growth process of children with disabilities. The timely diagnosing and treatment or rehabilitation of children with disabilities often leads to a higher success rate in ensuring that they lead a normal life. Play activities can also be used to monitor the progress of the treatment or the rehabilitation process by identifying the success at which the needs of the child are met as far as normal play is concerned. The needs of the child and the child’s normal growth are often achieved when the disabled child can engage positively in play activities.

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