Kids Playing with Teddy Bear

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Language Development

It has been long understood that children develop language though play. As Speech Language Pathologists, we use this notion to drive our therapy with many of our children. You will often see us on the floor, pretending and imagining with our youngest clients; a highly effective strategy to elicit speech and language development along with so many other skills. Observing a child’s play skills provides insight to a child’s language development. With the idea that play represents and facilitates a child’s language development, it is essential to be mindful of our child’s play skills. To do so, it is important to know what milestones and stages of play we can expect as our children grow and develop.

Stages of Play Development

6-8 months: Infants age six to eight months are beginning to explore the world around them. Infants begin to engage in exploratory play, manipulating objects without meaning. Infants engage with objects through mouthing, banging, or dropping objects.

9-12 months: As infants grow and motor skills increase, they begin to engage in functional play. Functional play shifts from non-meaningful manipulation of objects to purposeful exploration of objects. Purposeful exploration of objects shows the child understands and demonstrates knowledge of how the object is meant to be used, such as hitting a drum.

12-18 months: After a child turns one, symbolic play emerges. At this early stage of symbolic play, children often imitate their daily routines using only real objects. For example, a child may pick a comb and pretend to comb his/her hair or take a cup to pretend to drink.

18-24 months: As a child approaches his/her second birthday, symbolic play further develops. Continuing to use real objects, children will now include other people and objects in their play. Play schemes and sequences emerge. For example, a child may use a bottle to feed a doll, put the doll in a bed, and tell the doll goodnight. The play scenario continues to reflect his/her daily routines.

24-30 months: Until this point, children have only used real objects for expected purposes. As a child’s symbolic play grows and develops, the child begins to use one object to represent another. A common example of this includes using a banana as a phone. A child may put the banana to his/her ear and say hello. As a child uses one object to represent another, the child displays evidence of planning prior to engaging in a play sequence.

30 months-5 years: As a child approaches his/her third birthday, sociodramatic play develops. A child will not engage with other children to involve other parties in his/her play schemes. Children will develop themes, such as to play doctor, and use language more flexibly. Children will establish roles, such as patient and doctor, and use language to establish these roles. Children are engaging with one another to fulfill this play scheme.

If you have concerns about your child’s play development or would like to consult with us, please don’t hesitate to reach out to TherapyWorks experienced team of pediatric therapists! 

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COVID-19 Protocol

We hope you and your family are continuing to stay safe and healthy! We have outlined our protocols for in-person sessions during COVID-19. As you know, the health and safety of our clients and therapists remain our highest priority. As always, please reach out with any questions or concerns. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding as we work together through these unprecedented times.


Hand Washing:
Upon arrival at your home, your therapist will wash their hands with soap and water and/or use hand sanitizer. We ask that you and your child also wash your hands and/or use hand sanitizer upon your therapist’s arrival.
 
Facemasks:
We are asking our therapists to wear masks upon entering your home and throughout your child’s session. That said, we understand that some children have adverse reactions to seeing adults in masks and will leave it up to you and your therapist to decide your comfort level while still taking safety precautions.
 
We ask that parents and caregivers also follow the guidelines and wear masks when sitting in on sessions. We will not enforce that policy, but we do kindly ask for compliance.
 
As for your child, we realize that masks may not be appropriate for every child so we will not enforce the rule that children over the age of 2 should wear a mask.  However, if your therapist insists that your child wear a mask, then that will be a requirement directly between the two of you. We respect our therapists’ individual comfort levels with safety precautions and ask that you respect them as well.

 

Protocol Acknowledgment and Health Certification:

Before your child’s first in-person session, we are asking clients to submit an acknowledgment of these protocols and a health certification, which you can find here. Thank you again for your cooperation and for helping all of us stay healthy!