presented by Donna Case
Piaget stated that “play is the work of children.” Through play, a child learns to explore, develop, and master physical and social skills that form the foundation for future academic and life skills. Children with disabilities face many barriers to play. This lack of play leads to difficulties with academic and lifelong skills. Assistive technology allows children and adults with disabilities to engage in play or leisure individually and with others. This course will present an overview of the components that play facilitates, how assistive technology facilitates individuals with disabilities to participate in play or leisure, and what barriers individuals with disabilities may experience related to play and leisure and how assistive technology can help remove those barriers.
Donna Case, PhD, OTL, began her work with assistive technology more than 30 years ago when working with adults with significant multiple disabilities who had been removed from Michigan’s State Institutions. She received a master's degree in Interdisciplinary Technology from Eastern Michigan University to facilitate her students' ability to interact in meaningful ways with their environments and community. She received an Individual Interdisciplinary PhD in Industrial Engineering and Occupational Therapy, looking at improving employment options for individuals with severe disabilities using assistive technology. Donna has been teaching courses in assistive technology to occupational therapy, engineering, and special education students for more than twenty years. She has written chapters and articles on assistive technology for a variety of publications.
As children with disabilities grow, their lack of access to play limits the development of foundational skills for learning and life skills. Play has changed in the past twenty years and can lead to executive function dysfunction and difficulties with handwriting.
Children with disabilities face many barriers that prevent them from playing. This leads to a lack of the foundational skills that will serve them throughout their school career and beyond. The chapter will address specific barriers to play and solutions to remove those barriers.
Individuals with disabilities want to participate in play and leisure activities as they grow and develop into adulthood. Assistive technology removes many barriers for individuals with disabilities so they can participate in play and leisure activities.