Play, acting as a form of communication, enables the child to express things at their own pace in a way that they can convey without feeling interrogated or threatened. This is called play therapy or therapeutic play; it helps children with disabilities or learning difficulties understand complex feelings and process upsetting events or trauma. The ultimate goal of therapeutic play is optimal growth and development for the child.
For children with special needs this is particularly useful as therapists help them better understand themselves and the situation they are in. With their play therapist they can learn to understand difficult ideas and reconcile emotional frustration. This allows them to discover what physical and emotional strengths they have in relation to their disabilities. Behavioural problems, such as anger management, grief, loss, abandonment, crisis and trauma, and disorders, such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, autism, and developmental problems, can all be helped with effective therapeutic play.
For best effect it is recommended that a parent, caretaker, or family member is actively involved in the treatment process. Most importantly, a safe relationship must be built between the therapist and child, one where the child can freely and comfortably express anything they like or find unpleasant. This will allow them to better express themselves and resolve their problems. Play therapy has many benefits for children coping with difficulties, it can help them process complex issues, understand themselves and their disability, and develop a stronger more confident idea of who they are.