Child’s play is proving to be a lot more than just fun and games.
Research from Federation University Australia suggests it’s also a valuable way to give children with disabilities an opportunity to develop their individuality and independence.
The university’s Dr Amy Claughton spent several months watching children with disabilities playing in their classrooms.
She discovered that the children, aged between five and eight, were spontaneous and took the initiative to get involved.
“They were able to do this themselves and they were also influencing and negotiating with each other as they played, depending on who they were playing with and the different rules around the play,” Dr Claughton said.
She said it was important for teachers to allow the youngsters to make their own decisions about the games they chose to play.
“These adults were able to connect children to their interests, and spark an idea that children followed back towards spontaneous play,” she said.
“How children engage in play is particularly unique. I would encourage people who are teaching children with a disability to look for that uniqueness that they bring to their playing.”
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