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In Narrative Play Therapy, the child and the therapist work together in a play context, either in a quiet office setting or in the outside environment. The goal is to form a trusting relationship with the child. There are four phases to Narrative Play Therapy.
Children learn from each other when they play. During the actions of play a child stays present and listens to the other peer. I facilitate language as they engage in play. I stay at their eye level and become a part of their story. I pair children who are similar in abilities and in language skills.
Speech therapy is essential for a young child with speech production difficulties. Children may have problem with speech production that is a result of a developmental delay, or they may be talking, but unintelligible. Several children I see have the cognitive ability to understand language, but they can’t use sound combinations in words to express their ideas.
Children respond with language, laughter, and enthusiasm while running through the woods with a friend to find a special stick, or watching a baby sheep sleep with a mother, or while jumping off logs and pretending they fly. The combination of the outdoors and nature and play helps children much more than sitting at a desk at school with a therapist looking at pictures. I do my best work with young children in the natural environment.
Map is a certified therapy dog (CGC, American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen’s award, 2012) and accompanies me to see young children who need a comforting presence of a dog.
Children respond to music and make social connections as they play. I often use a set of drums to bring siblings together in special interactions.
Children with autism respond to visual, verbal, and gesture cues when they are first learning to use language in social situations. They need to be taught the “rules” of how to use language in many different settings. A visual script can cue the child about what to say in particular situations with a peer. These scripts are created for a specific child, for a certain developmental age, and for a particular social conversation.
Children need to practice the basic skills of negotiation with one peer or a sibling. Here, I lay out some simple ideas to facilitate negotiations.
There is a connection between a child’s oral language and the ability to organize thoughts for writing.
Goals and objectives for engaging children in using language in their interactions with peers at the playground.
The underlying goal of my Narrative Play Therapy method is to develop a trusting, safe environment to relate to the child with autism or PDD and to make a special connection in the therapeutic process.
Narrative Play Therapy includes a set of specific strategies to facilitate the child’s development in language, play, and narrative.
Children with problems with Auditory Processing Disorders have difficulty listening and discriminating between sounds in words.