Interview with Elelwani Ramugondo,OT, on the importance of play
Kate Kerber reporting at the PATA conference.
Elelwani Ramugondo is an Occupational Therapist with UCT Health and Rehabilitation Science and an expert in children's play. She has worked with Kidzpositive, is on the Kidzpositive Board and still does some informal work in the clinic. I spoke to Elelwani about the importance of play in adherence. Speaking about the children's clinic, she says that the ambience of the environment and its accessibility to children are crucial points. "If kids hate where they are going, they are not encouraged, and they don't want to come back." With simple kid-friendly changes made to clinics, she has seen kids running from the lift to the clinic playroom.
Playing with toys is important, but so is playing with each other. One factor is that other kids who are at the clinic for the same reason. Some kids have buddies that they look forward to seeing at the clinic. One mom saw her child and another giggling uncontrollably, they were laughing at the size of the nappies they both had to wear, and she was able to reconnect with her child on a different level. "Parents are able to see their child as more than just a sick body dying, but a living being."
Parents will say that the ability to play is a good indicator that the child is getting better, physically and emotionally. Parents watch the children role play and see possibilities for the future. One mother saw her child role playing as a TV presenter and saw hope that the child could grow old, have a career.
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