COUN 7505 Play Therapy with the Neurodiverse
According to the latest estimates, approximately one in five school-aged children is in some way neurologically diverse, meaning that how their brain function is “atypical” from what’s considered “normal.” Children with ADHD, dyslexia, autism, giftedness, anxiety, sensory processing disorder, and/or other neurodifferences have many challenges. As a play therapy practitioner are you equipped to identify these differences and help these clients become more successful at home, school, and in their neighborhoods? To aid in equipping professional play therapy practitioners working with neurodiverse clients, NNU’s Adventure Play Therapy Education and Training Center (APT Approved Provider #12-332) is offering COUN6954F-01/COUN56207 Play Therapy with the Neurodiverse Friday, April 28 from 5:00 – 10:00 pm (online synchronous) and Saturday, April 29 from 8:00am – 5:00pm (F2F). Dr. Lori Fairgrieve, RPT-S will be the instructor for this jammed packed weekend of learning and hands-on fun.
The sensory system contributes to every child’s ability to learn and function. Neurodiverse children, more specifically children with sensory processing disorders (SPD), differ from typically developing (TD) children in their play and social abilities. As a result, they almost always suffer from emotional, social, and educational problems, including the inability to make friends or be a part of a group, poor self-concept, academic failure, and being labeled clumsy, uncooperative, belligerent, disruptive, or “out of control.” Anxiety, depression, aggression, or other behavior problems can follow. Consequently, play interactions, commonly shared enjoyable experiences that create positive connections between caregivers and children, can be complex and challenging.
Effective interventions for the neurodiverse and/or SPD student is available, but far too many children with sensory processing symptoms are misdiagnosed and/or improperly treated. Unfortunately, untreated SPD that persists into adulthood can affect an individual’s ability to succeed in marriage, work, and community social environments. This course will help students and practitioners to better understand neurodiversity, such as sensory processing disorder, and how play therapy can be an effective way to help these neurodiverse children and their families thrive. A sensory-integrated approach will be presented in this course, and the core components of predominant play therapy treatments will be outlined. In creative and playful ways, participants will learn how to incorporate play-therapy techniques into neurodiverse-based treatments, while maintaining fidelity to both developmentally and neurologically sensitive approaches.