At my last employer, I was on the interview panel for the new dance/movement therapy position. My colleague asked the interviewee how she might justify a dance/movement therapy consult for a child critically ill, injured, or with major physical or cognitive limitations if she was met with resistance from a family member or health care professional. The first words out of her mouth were simple, but powerful. Without hesitation she said,
Our panel of child life specialists and expressive art therapists in that interview might have all been hoping to hear those words from our candidate, and still her words carried truth full of light and energy that had us all momentarily pause and reflect.
As a certified child life specialist, I was gracious for the reminder of how play can look different from one child to the next. Play can be seen in the form of role playing. Play can look like a child verbally directing another person to physically build a lego creation for them. Play for children with mobility issues might be blowing paint through a straw. For others, play means watching a familiar show or listening to music that brings relaxation. Play can be quiet and play can be loud. Play can be independent or play can be with others. Play can be 30 seconds or hours on end.
If you’re wondering, this candidate got the job! She showcased how we, as psycho-social support professionals or parents, aim to recognize a child’s abilities and celebrate their existence, rather than get stuck on their limitations.
Resource recommendation for kids:
I recommend “Octicorn,” by Kevin Diller and Justine Lowe. A 2016 Amazon book of the year, Octicorn celebrates differences and challenges children to accept differences in others (This post is not sponsored).