Structured play therapy and loving care

  • Emotional and physical stimulation can substantially reduce the risk of permanent mental retardation and emotional impairment.
  • After the first few days of treatment, the child should spend prolonged periods with other children on large play mats and with the mother.
  • Each play session should include language and motor activities, and activities with toys. (Examples of simple toys for structured play therapy are provided in the annexure 20.) Teach the child local songs and games using the fingers and toes. Encourage the child to laugh, vocalise and describe what he or she is doing. Encourage the child to perform the next appropriate motor activity, for example, help the child to sit up; roll toys out of reach to encourage the child to crawl after them; hold the child’s hands and help him or her to walk.
  • Physical activity promotes the development of essential motor skills and may also enhance growth. For immobile children, passive limb movements should be done at regular intervals. For mobile children, play should include such activities as rolling or tumbling on a mattress, kicking and tossing a ball, and climbing stairs etc. Duration and intensity of physical activities should increase as the child’s condition improves.
  • Mothers and care givers should be involved in all aspects of management of her child. Mothers can be taught to: prepare food; feed children; bathe and change; play with children, supervise play sessions and make toys.
  • Mothers must be educated about the importance of play and expression of her love as part of the emotional, physical and mental stimulation that the children need.