Here are some case examples that illustrate the effectiveness of play.
J is a 17 year old young lady with epilepsy and severe learning difficulties, she was referred to the Play Specialist as there had been incidents of her hitting staff and peers on the residential unit. The Play Specialist carried out some individual Intensive Interaction sessions with J and found that she was gesturing for clapping games and activities that involved pressure being applied to the palms of her hands and fingertips. The Play Specialist identified some positive interactive games which gave her this sensory input and provided training for the residential staff in carrying out these interactions. The support staff carried out the interaction on a regular basis and there was seen to be a reduction in the incidents of the student hitting other people.
F is a 19 yr old young man with moderate learning difficulties who has an appointment to go for an MRI scan but has said that he does not want to attend the appointment. He has agreed however to see the Play Specialist for some individual sessions. In the first session the Play Specialist develops a rapport with him; they talk about football and have a game of cards. During the game of cards F demonstrates that he has the ability to think ahead and plan his next move which gives the PS the opportunity to assess his level of understanding. In the second session the Play Specialist shows F a video of another student having an MRI scan, F agrees that it doesn’t look too bad and the third session involves F using the play tunnel to practice lying still. Through seeing and experiencing what is going to happen F now has a good understanding of what is expected of him and happily co-operates and successfully attends his appointment.
M is a 12 year old student with moderate learning difficulties; he is new to residential care at Young Epilepsy and is missing home resulting in him displaying some challenging behaviour in school and on the residential unit. He is offered individual sessions with the Play Therapist. During the sessions he engages the therapist in dressing up and role play where he plays out scenarios where he packs his bags and goes to sleep elsewhere. This allows him the chance to explore and come to terms with his current situation and express how he feels about this.