My work, aside from any therapeutic aspect, is about studying and enhancing naturalistic opportunities for communication in children using conversation analysis. Communicative interactions in play may be verbal and nonverbal, involving whole body positioning, context, gesture, eyegaze, language and emotions. How fun, creative, social and emotional expression develop in children who have a different set of physical and communicative abilities is of particular interest. research work has focussed on children with autism, language impairments and cerebral palsy.
My professional life now encompasses interactions with young people with physical disabilities using augmentative and alternative means of communicating including hi tech eye gaze, switch, lightwriter and other forms of digital communication aids (AAC). This area in particular is one I would wish to focus on in the project: how do children using AAC (and often wheelchair users) 'have fun' in a social context, especially using 'imagination, creating imaginative worlds, role play', sharing those worlds with others . My skill base is one of analytic observation and interpretation of play and communication within play at the micro level. A developing understanding of technology and its contribution to enhancing access to social play for children with disabilities would be 'measured' by observing social behaviours, level of inclusion and engagement.