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Title: 'Go-getters' and 'clever little cookies': a multi-method study of playfulness in children with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD)
Author: Watson, Debby
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2015
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Playfulness offers the potential to change perceptions of children with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) from passive children who are 'done to' to children who are inherently playful, have personalities, strengths, likes and dislikes. In a climate of concerns about the decline in free play for children in the UK and rising numbers of children with profound and complex needs, it is timely that attention be paid to these areas. The design of this multi-method, qualitative study was influenced by a range of factors. This included the nature of the children with PMLD, the theoretical stance and collaboration with a group of young disabled people. It involved an on-line survey, visits to and/or interviews at sites in the UK where there are professionals and families who were knowledgeable about people with PMLD (including arts-based professionals) and, of central importance, observations of five children with PMLD aged 3 to 7 years old in three different settings. Interviews were also conducted with the children's caregivers at home and school. This study has shown that children with PMLD are playful and that encouraging playfulness may have many significant benefits both for the children and for those around them. These include increasing stimulation, communication skills and responsiveness. Playfulness may also make the child 'feel good', possibly through providing a close connection to others, in what is termed here as 'mindful interdependency'. It was established that active playfulness stimulated and excited the children and may be linked to an increase in the number of strengths that they demonstrated. This has not previously been found in other research, as far as can be determined. A number of outputs such as a Play Passport have been produced which, it is hoped, will contribute to the encouragement of playfulness in children with PMLD.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available