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“Play is the highest form of Research” Albert Einstein

“Play is the highest form of Research” Albert Einstein

There are many individuals who have different levels of comfort with children of different ages and differing abilities. 

Parents love their child, they enjoy being around them, but don’t really know where to begin to engage them. 

There is no ‘cookie-cutter recipe’ that can tell you how to play with your child, but the stages of play are ubiquitous for child development.

UDL- Universal Design for Learning is the concept that toys, clothes, shoes… are designed with accessibility in mind.Choose toys that can be used forL

1- Sensory exploration- Sensorimotor development is one of the first areas of the brain to develop for newborns.  The more a  child feels, the more they move.  The more they move, the more they learn.

The first stage of play is to feel, handle, explore and sometimes mouth toys. The baby will eventually push, bang, roll, and/or throw  toys.Babies explore toys through their hands and mouths

2- Discovery of cause and effect-First I do this…. Then……

A child learns that their actions result in an outcome.  For example, a pop up toy that is activated when they push a button. 

The child develops the feedforward/feedback system and can anticipate that when they do something specific, a specific action occurs. 

On the most basic level, this teaches a child that they can have an impact on their environment .

3- Imagination and creativity- the next level of play involves discovering new ways to use a toy.  This creativity is the result of participating in activities of daily living, interacting with their peers and family members, and exploring their environment. Little ones will begin matching, sorting and creating new fun ways to use toys, their bodies and their voices. 

4.  Transfer these skills to another setting, and build on them.  A sign of learning a new skills is when a child can master a skill, take what they’ve learned in one setting, and generalize it to a different setting. 

Then the toddler modifies, adjusts and refines their decision making based on their many experiences (trial and error) .

Play is the best way to learn. 

Play can stimulate hand eye coordination, vision, motor, sensory, proprioceptive sense and more. 

Every child can explore toys, it’s up to us to set up their environment in order for them to have easy access to these toys!

Firefly Blog

Real life stories, issues and experiences of day to day life by special needs parents and
healthcare professionals.

Sharon Galitzer (Physical Therapist)

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I'm a pediatric physical therapist and also the sibling of an adult with special needs.

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