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Play Reflection Paper

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Play is “a medium for change and a means to foster and enhance language, cognitive, social, and emotional development” (Ivory and McCollum, 1999, p.238). Undertaking the literature review on play made me realize how important and underused play is when working towards improving developmental domains for children with exceptionalities and when promoting learning. The first main finding that stood out to me was that children with exceptionalities display delays in play development (Lifter, Mason and Barton, 2011; Messier, Ferland and Mainimer, 2007; Bray and Cooper, 2007; Hine and Wolery, 2006; and Pierce-Jordan and Lifter, 2005). This is useful information if we want to foster meaningful interactions between children with and without exceptionalities in the inclusive classroom. If some children are using more complex play skills, children with exceptionalities may not be able to keep up if they are unable to play at the same level. This could result in a decrease in the amount of social interaction that takes place between children and to some extent exceptional children may become alienated within the classroom. Exceptional children who are physically present in the classroom but do not belong (their presence isn’t valued) are known as squatters (Kliewer, 1998). In an inclusive classroom all students should be full citizens; Rapp and Arndt (2012) discuss the importance of this. Kliewer (1998) outlines four principles of citizenship: believing in one’s own ability to think, believing in one’s individuality, belief in the reciprocity of relationships and a shared social place. If we apply this to play, we believe that exceptional children have the ability to play in increasingly creative and intricate ways and each student bring something unique to their play experience. When playing with others all students benefit equitably and students with exceptionalities…...

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