Puppets and Special kids……?
- Is it just a toy?
- Have one just for fun...
- create a theatrical show?
- used as a medium to relate stories to kids....
- hang it up in a child's room to decorate their bedroom...
If you agree with the above...I will applause you, I totally agree. I have worked with kids for 25 years, and I can tell you we had lots of fun, playing, engaging, creating etc.. etc..
What people forget though, that apart from the fun part of having a puppet.....there is a lot of issues that can help a child by having a puppet or interacting with one.
- Firstly, excellent ideas to give a puppet as a gift when a child is born...Why? Yes you hang it up in a room and creates a wonderful decor, but most of all parents or carers can use it start to interact with the child when they are ready.....they can make up their own stories or follow one, using the Puppet as a medium.
- Secondly, vocabulary enrichment, and teaches them a way to express oneself through a puppet.
- The latter is very important, as some kids find it hard to express themselves, but they will do it through using a puppet. Have you ever stayed in the background when your kids are playing, or perhaps in playgroup, creche, kinder, or even playgrounds at school... situation and you hear a child especially when they are playing on their own...using different mediums, and talking to themselves or through the puppet. Wow, that child can become a different person to the one that you and me know. You will hear things that he or she have not told you before.
I have done some research and came across some 2 wonderful articles, I would suggest that you go through and read them:
- PUPPETS CAN HELP CHILDREN WITH AUTISM-HOW? FIND OUT written by Bonita Darula
- Just a Puppet? written by Jackie Cosh
Here are some of the points that I picked up from both articles that really caught my eye.
- "For children with special needs, puppets can be used to encourage them to participate in activities they have previously refused to join in, to explore situations and get them to open up, and as a highly effective form of art therapy."
- "Children with autism do also. Why? because, puppets are creative and can become who you want them to be. Puppets can help children with autism, due to the fact that they relieve tension for those who have a difficult time in learning"
- “There are many different areas puppetry can work, in hospitals and in schools,” Knight explained. “It’s very effective and can be used as a diagnostic tool to identify what is going on inside the child’s head. Skills in puppeteering are needed but also medical and psychology skills. Puppets are a powerful tool and encourage children to express themselves.”
- "Puppets help children with autism for the fact they seem to stay focused, they do not feel threatened, by an adult, or being forced to do something out of routine. In addition, they keep their attention on learning, by repetition, of the puppets moving and acting out different problems or issues and showing how they can be corrected. For example, if your child is having a difficult time brushing his or her teeth, you could use a puppet in action, to illustrate how it is done"
- "On a therapeutic level, puppets can help disabled children express themselves, or reduce fear and teach them coping skills. Puppets can also act as visual symbols which children can use to express their anger, sorrow or need for attention. Later on they can blame these feelings on the puppet and hence revealing their innermost feelings in a non-threatening way."
- "In Russia, speech therapists have reported that the simple act of a child manipulating a hand puppet has caused their stuttering to disappear, while UK-based puppeteers have also commented on how puppetry can help with language. Even children without hands have been known to use their feet to make and perform puppet shows."
- I Love this...."Give them any puppet and let them bring it to life"
- Knight sums up what puppetry can do. “Puppetry is a mirror for what lies beneath,”
I think the last 2 comments by Knight captures it all...
I would really like to hear your views and thoughts?