Over the centuries, across species and cultures, play provided the opportunity for exploration, discovery, and creativity. Play was for fun and enjoyment, a time to move and think, spawning attachments, shared attention, engagement, and relationships. In an age when less time is devoted to play, and digital or instructional activities dominate, the power of natural play is in peril. Today neuroscientists confirm play is biologically based and stimulates brain growth, essential for emotional, cognitive, language and social capacities in all children, including those with sensory processing and autism spectrum disorders. But are “right and wrong” answers displacing emotional thinking, creativity, movement, and the joy of learning? Current science shows physical play provides a pathway to regulation- sensory modulation, attention, emotional regulation and perseverance- and DIR model fosters creative ways to express feelings, to problem solve and to become symbolic. So, do children with special needs need more or less play? This conference aims to help parents and professionals understand the developmental foundations for play and the experiences necessary to capture its power and potential. The role of the creative arts therapies will be highlighted as a creative extension of play and the therapeutic powers of play will be addressed.
Webcast presentation titles that are included with this series are listed below
- Moving the Mind: The Revolutionary New Science of Movement, Play and Action
- Occupational Therapy Under the DIR Umbrella: Play, Praxis and Self-Regulation
- Playfulness in the PLAY Project: The Biological Basis of an Autism Intervention Model
- Moving from the Visual Space of the Outer World to the Inner Space of Symbols Through Play
- Shall We Dance? Using Creative Arts Therapies to Promote Play, Social –Relatedness and Self-Expression in ASD: Meet Evan a 17-year old dancer, musician and artist and his mother