An exploration into factors which influence positive object play experience for children who are living with severe physical and intellectual disabilities
Community-Academic Research Links, University College Cork
Background: Toy/object play is accepted as an integral and valued occupation for all children. Though play in general is a topic which commonly receives attention in research, object play, remains relatively unexplored especially for children with severe physical and intellectual disabilities, a population which is commonly described as experiencing ‘play deprivation’. Purpose: The purpose of this study is to explore factors which influence positive toy/object play experiences for children who are living with severe physical and intellectual disabilities. Method: This study took a qualitative methodology that is informed by the theoretical approaches of ethnography. This study utilises method triangulation; participant observations, semi-structured interviews and focus groups to obtain rich and in-depth findings. Participants: After ethical approval, 5 child participants, 6 parent(s)/guardian(s) and 6 teachers/SNAs were recruited. Findings: 4 major themes, ‘Play as an Occupation, Play as an Activity’; ‘An Empowered and Empowering Play Partner’; ‘The 'Just-Right' Play Object’ and ‘Considerations for Contextual participation’ as well as relevant subthemes were identified through thematic analysis. The interaction between the play form, play object and play context (including environment and social supports) is highlighted clearly within these analytical themes. Implications for practice: Although the findings are specific to this study sample, play facilitators may use them to further their understanding of the nature of object play for this population and inform future play interactions. By recognising the multiple facets of positive play influence, object play can be better understood and championed as a central to these children's occupational lives.
Toy or object , Play , Disabilities
O’Connor, D. and Butler, A. (2018) An exploration into factors which influence positive object play experience for children who are living with severe physical and intellectual disabilities. Cork: Community-Academic Research Links, University College Cork.
©2018, Deirdre O’Connor and Alison Butler.