Children who are in hospital for a long time are at risk of experiencing delays in the way they develop important skills for movement and play.
The therapy team help to support children and their families find ways around the challenges of learning new skills in hospital.
Our children’s physiotherapy and occupational therapy experts at the Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle have designed a poster for parents and carers to support them with developmental play with their children whilst they are in hospital.
Click on the image below to see the poster in full size
Watch this video which explains how you can use the poster
The staff you might meet
Moving and playing in lots of different positions helps children develop all the skills they need to move through their developmental milestones.
It is important to move through milestones in stages even if that is behind peers or what is expected at certain ages. For example, we will work on tummy time before expecting children to crawl.
Medical attachments such as tracheostomy’s, lines, stoma bags and feeding tubes should not prevent a child from experiencing changes in positions or movement for play, cuddles or feeding.
Little and often is usually the trick, especially for children not used to being moved after being poorly.
If you are worried, we can help support you with moving and handling your child to support their development.
Playing gives children opportunities to experience new sensations and help them to understand their bodies and the world around them.
Activities like getting washed and dressed can be learned through play and will be more fun this way!
Play will continue to be really important throughout childhood.
If a child is finding play difficult in hospital, we can find ways of supporting them differently.
For example, changing the activity or adapting their environment so they can still be part of the fun.
Sensational Thinking Project
Working across organisations, our team nurtures healthy sensory development when a child has a hospital admission, to reduce the possibility of any long term issues.
Speech and Language Therapist
Babies learn language through hearing and looking at your face’s expressions.
It is important to talk to your child as much as you can, they learn much more from face to face conversations with you than by watching the most engaging TV presenter!
While you are doing daily care and play activities use simple words and lots of repetition, see if they can find the items you ask for.
Adding in some Makaton signs along with words can aid early communication, explore the link below or ask us about Makaton signs you can use.
If they are finding something fun, pause and see if they can let you know they would like some more!
It can be hard to know what are the best toys or to have ideas for play activities.
We are your go to person on the ward to get support with age-appropriate toys and ideas for play activities.
We have knowledge of child development and link with the therapy teams to get extra support if needed.