This year Conference of “Early Childhood Ireland” has been devoted to the theme “Play is FUNdamental”, that means to the importance of play for the child’s development under any aspect.
The Action Session organized by the COST Action LUDI “Play for Children with Disabilities”, held on April the 15th was devoted to deepen the aspects that the play activity assumes when the players are special children.
Children with disabilities, in fact, may encounter some, or many, difficulties in developing through play, in relation both to their impairments and to social constraints. But play is the main engine for development and growth also for children with disabilities, who do not need to be offered ludic activities only during learning or rehabilitation sessions, rather they should have the opportunity to play as they wish, as they prefer, simply for the sake of play.
The LUDI members presented the Action LUDI as a pan-European transdisciplinary research network totally devoted to the theme of PLAY for children with disabilities. LUDI objectives for the Action (which will last four years, from 2014 to 2018) were presented. Then each members presented the state of the art of each Working Group.
During discussion time the audience showed great interest in the theme, and posed many questions aimed at discovering if further development of the Action will also include deepening of educational aspects, such as the topic of peer/adult relationships related to play, as well as of the LUDI training model, which has to be developed in the next year.
At the end of the LUDI Action session an overview of the deliverables of the different working groups were presented. These will be embraced as a great source of up-to-date in-depth information regarding different elements of play for children with disabilities.
The audience was invited to share their experiences and insights, and of course to take part in the LUDI network.
The focus of presentations and workshops was on young children in general. The Minister of Child & Youth, James O’Reilly, who opened the Early Childhood Conference on Saturday, demonstrated his specific interest on LUDI, since he mentioned explicitly the importance of giving children with disabilities access to early childhood interventions – play of course included – so that all children can reach their full potential.
- Vaska Stancheva-Popkostadinova
- Anna Andreeva
- Tamara Zappaterra
- Eva Petersson-Brooks
- Rianne Jansens