I base my therapy sessions in play as I have found this supports their engagement in the activities with effort and vigor and creates an atmosphere of fun! It is delightfully described by Norma Alessandrini in The American Journal of Occupational Therapy in 1949.

”Play is a child’s way of learning and an outlet for his innate need of activity. It is his business or his career. In it he engages himself with the same attitude and energy that we engage ourselves in our regular work. For each child it is a serious undertaking not to be confused with diversions or idle use of time. Play is not folly. It is purposeful activity.”

This demonstrates how play is a long standing part of one’s occupation and has been integrated into therapeutic practice for years. There are many models of play and playfulness and which have a solid base in evidence and contribute to development. Play is internally motivated, process orientated, fun and creative!  Thus play is utilised by occupational therapists within a therapy setting as a tool used to work towards a goal including but not limited to the following developmental outcomes:

  • Attention
  • Motor and functional skills
  • Sensory processing and perceptual abilities
  • Cognitive & language development
  • Reading social verbal and nonverbal cues

Bundy, A. (1997). Play and playfulness: What to look for. In L.D. Parham & L.S. Fazio (2 Eds), Play in Occupational Therapy for Children. (Pp.52-66) St. Louis MO. Mosby.