by Padmini Sriman
For this installment of My Guru, we introduce you to a new, dynamic way to teach emotions to children with ASD and other developmental disabilities. Welcome Padmini!
The Power of Emotiplush
When you see a doll, do you see the potential it has? The doll could be cast one day as a child’s friend, another day as a villain and another day as any other conceivable character. Dolls have been uncovered from Egypt circa 2000 BCE emphasizing their importance in everyday lives of children even eons ago. If you really think about it, dolls and playing pretend with them have always been a part of a child’s healthy psychological development and for a good reason too. A child can safely explore several different scenarios and role play without actually experiencing any negative consequences at all – as these are after all within the bubble of the child’s imagination.
For a special-needs or a child with language delay, pretend play, in my opinion, is even more important as it acts as a great motivator to engage and produce speech. In particular, pretend play can be very useful in introducing and teaching emotions because they are best learned when those very emotions are experienced and relevant.
Compare two scenarios. One where a child is shown a picture of a person with an angry face and with the label “Angry”. The educator makes the child recognize the card and to label it “Angry”. Contrast this with another scenario where the child is engaged in pretend play with the educator who is giving voice to a doll who says “I’m angry you took my cookie!” to another doll or the child who snatched the cookie from the said doll. Now the educator asks the child “How does Dolly feel?” Which scenario would give a better chance for the child to understand the emotion anger?
Now imagine we have a doll that displays the correct facial expression for the feeling that was just being taught. What a more relevant and educational experience it would be for the child at that moment! That is the thought-process behind the Emotiplush Dolls. These dolls have a patent pending design that allow the eyebrows and mouth to be manipulated to show a range of facial expressions.
I believe these dolls take learning to the next level for children with disabilities or otherwise using his or her own innate imagination. In the words of Albert Einstein , “Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere”.
Inventor at Emotiplush Dolls. www.emotiplush.com
About the author
Padmini lives in Naperville, Ilinois with her husband and 2 children. She had worked in the Software Industry for a decade until one of her children was diagnosed with developmental delays. She has now transformed into a special-needs advocate and is constantly looking for tools and techniques that will enhance their lives.
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