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Playfulness emphasizes the quality of a child's play as it moves beyond the performance of a specific play task. Playfulness embodies characteristics such as engagement, exuberance, persistence, and use of mischief, initiating, sharing, giving and responding to cues. It is important for families to find playfulness in all activities and daily routines from riding in the car to taking a bath.

What we have found out about play and children with disabilities:

  • The intervention of an adult as an initiator, modeler, participant and/or enhancer of play repertoires may be understated.

  • Adaptations to play materials and play strategies are necessary.

  • Children perform optimally when they are playing. Unforseen outcomes often emerge.

  • Supports should be considered at typical ages- don't wait!

  • A tendency towards learned helplessness is diminished when children are playing.

  • Families often need "permission" to play with their children.


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