Caregivers’ Ability to Support Children with Developmental Delay in Play

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DeBrabander, Krista; Pierce, Juliette; Price, Sandra; Seeber, Sara; Thorpe, Sara; Zichmiller, Britney
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Children with developmental delays (DD) experience difficulties in one or more developmental areas including: motor, cognition, self-care, social, and communication skills that impact their participation in play and day to day functioning (CDC, 2015). Children with DD show greater problem behaviors which can impact play skills and interaction with others and places significant stress on the caregiver. When caregivers are under stress, they show less effective caregiving skills. Children first begin to learn to play at home and with their caregivers. Through play, children learn skills and foster development in motor, cognition, language and social skills which leads to greater skills for life tasks. Children have a greater opportunity to succeed in play when their caregiver is familiar with play and the play environment. Toy selection is an important factor that promotes engagement and appreciation of the learning benefits of play. Occupational therapists (OTs) have a role in supporting caregivers in play with children with Dd. OTs educate and coach families about play and appropriate play for development. The purpose of this research study was to develop an educational program to increase caregivers’ ability to support their child with developmental delay in play. The Educational Program and results will be shared.