Play Therapy

Advice for Parents

A severe injury, especially head injuries, can cause a variety of impairments, including understanding medical interventions and expressing anxieties or worries. Children can also develop cognitive-communication difficulties which impact on social interaction, communication skills, playing and learning abilities.  Your child may need to see a Health Play Specialist to help aid their experience and recovery.

What Do We Do?

Health Play Specialists (HPS) are specialists in assessing a child’s developmental and cognitive levels to enable provision of appropriate information, preparation and distraction to facilitate compliance, reducing anxiety and developing coping techniques.   

Following assessment and observation of your child’s needs we provide various interventions such as individualised preparation for medical treatments, general play, therapeutic play, confidence and mastery building, behavioural and support plans. We also provide support and advice to families and the wider multidisciplinary team.  

Where Do We See You?

At your hospital, a Play Specialist may see your child at bedside on the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit and/or the Paediatric Ward.

What To Expect?

A Health Play Specialist will assess your child’s needs to provide an individualised play program. Through the medium of play they will work with you to observe and understand any changes to your child’s personality and provide opportunities to play that suit their specific needs and interests.

Health Play Specialists work closely with the wider therapies team to support in the implementation and carry over of specific physical, communication or emotional goals through play.  They can help you and your child to understand the nature of their condition and prepare them for any medical interventions e.g. scans and tests.  

Your child’s needs may change throughout their hospital stay. The Health Play Specialists will offer your child play intervention that meets their needs on each day, and adapt their play program in response to this.

What About the Future?                                                                   

It is very difficult to predict the outcome after a traumatic event as every child and their recovery time is different.

What we do know is that early and on-going support from a Health Play Specialist which targets your children’s individualised psychosocial needs and providing opportunities for therapeutic and general play does make a difference.

Health Play Specialists also provide or make specific referral for special events, rewards or wishes.

How Can I Help as A Parent?                                      

All therapy goals will be jointly made with you, your child and other professionals who are caring for your child. The aim is to help provide each child and family with therapy which facilitates optimum support. You will be encouraged to attend therapy sessions in hospital and supported to reach play goals with your child.


Health Play Specialist Information for Children

After you have hurt yourself you may have to spend some time in hospital, and meet a Health Play Specialist.

We can help you with understanding what is happening, asking questions, and playing.

We come to play games with you and talk with you and your family.

We may look at pictures, read stories, look at special dolls or play games with you.


Health Play Specialist Information for Teenagers

A Health Play Specialist can help you after a Brain Injury.

Brain injury can damage parts of the brain that help with talking, reading, understanding others and expressing your questions, worries or concerns.

The main goal is to work with you to find out what you need support with and then start working on these skills together to get them as good as we can.

Sometimes we will spend time doing lots of different activities or talking and other times we can give you stuff to do e.g. computer games, DVD’s and iPAD’s.

Our main aim is to help you understand what is happening and provide support and self-expression activities efficiently as possible and support you to communicate with the medical team, your friends and family.