Bernadette Kroon PT, DPT, GCS, CEEAA
The focus of this presentation is on medically fragile children. Through our searching process, we found that play is essential for typical development in children. When a child has a complex condition, play is often compromised. Through our evidence, we found that medically fragile children experience barriers engaging in play and social encounters while at school. Medically fragile children spend most of their day interacting with teaching staff or nurses due to the demanding needs of their disabilities. With the help of assistive technologies such as a powered mobility chair, a single switch output communication aid and movement to music (MTM) computer technology, medically fragile children can participate in play. In addition to assistive technology, parent education is needed to expand their concept of play beyond the conventional idea for typically developing children, and to adapt engagement to meet their child’s needs. The MTM technology was used to act as a therapeutic medium to develop or improve psychological, cognitive, or physical functioning and to facilitate clients engagement in activities. A voice output communication aid (VOCA) helps medically fragile children independently request and express their preferred objects during play. The use of a powered mobility riding toy allowed children to direct their own movement and facilitate their own play. Play is a natural occupation for children and should be incorporated in daily routines regardless of a child’s disability.
Vachon, Allison and Lyon, Kylie, "Expanding the Concept of Play" (2018). Thinking Matters Symposium Archive. 167.