Time on the playground is full of rich sensory and motor experiences. It’s free and unstructured. It’s a time for discovery and experiments. It’s a time for social interactions and negotiations. While this time for play is fun for most kids, it is often one of the hardest times for our sensory kids. Taking in rich sensory experiences can be overwhelming as they are often very big and very unexpected. Free, unstructured time for discovery can be hard when you have challenges in motor planning – coming up with ideas, planning and executing them. Social interactions and negotiations often mean adapting your plan that you worked so hard to come up with to include another person or having your plan that is very comfortable for you “ruined” when another child needs something that you are playing with.
Our sensory kids often feel unsafe and guarded during “playground time.” They often enter fight or flight mode and will play by themselves or stick to a familiar play idea so that they feel safe and comfortable in this unpredictable situation. They need in-the-moment social skills practice in these situations in order to be successful.
Our playground politics program provides practice with in-the-moment, real time social skills needed for this type of play – real life play. A small group of 3 kids are invited to have “free” play in our sensory gym. We say “free” because our staff is there to facilitate social interactions as they come up – so it just looks like free play to the kids. This includes developing ideas for games together, making quick adaptations to the plan to include your friend’s idea, managing big emotions that arise and most of all staying with it to have a successful, interactive, well-organized playground experience with friends.
Groups are formed on an ongoing basis with social skill levels, age and parent goals considered. We also offer dyad sessions if you feel your child needs more individual support with just one peer to get started. Call us to see what we have going and what we have coming up!