When should I choose this Area of Focus for my Gabadoo?

Play is such an important part of a child's development and preferences for types of play is unique to each child. 

Here are a few different types of play that children may engage in:

  • Functional play involves using objects or materials in a basic, functional manner. For e.g. stacking blocks, driving a toy car. 

  • Constructive play involves using materials to build or create something such as assembling puzzles, or using art supplies to make crafts. Constructive play helps develop problem-solving skills, spatial awareness, and fine motor coordination.

  • Pretend play involves using one's imagination to take on different roles and engage in make-believe scenarios e.g. pretending to be a doctor, cooking in a pretend kitchen, or having a tea party with stuffed animals. Pretend play supports language development, creativity, social skills, and understanding of different perspectives.

  • Symbolic play involves using objects or actions to represent or stand for something else. For eg. a child may use a stick as a pretend sword. 

  • Social play involves interactions with other children or adults. It can include cooperative play, where children collaborate and work together towards a common goal, or parallel play, where children engage in similar activities alongside each other without direct interaction. Social play fosters social skills, cooperation, turn-taking, sharing, and empathy.

  • Rough and tumble play involves physical interactions such as chasing, wrestling, or engaging in boisterous play. Rough and tumble play helps children develop physical coordination, self-regulation, and social skills, as they learn to negotiate boundaries and take turns during energetic play.

  • Outdoor or physical play involves engaging in activities that promote gross motor skills and physical fitness. This can include running, jumping, climbing, riding a bike, playing sports, or exploring nature. Outdoor play provides opportunities for exercise, sensory stimulation, spatial awareness, and risk-taking within safe boundaries.

Each type of play skill contributes to various aspects of a child's development, including cognitive, social, emotional, and physical domains.

Below are a few reasons why parents use Gabadoo to get support for their child's play skills:

Their child may have difficulty with initiating play, sustaining attention, or engaging in different types of play.

They may have a specific preference for a type of play (e.g. sensory play) and parents may look for new ideas to support this interest and increase engagement. 

Their child may be struggling with turn-taking or sharing, and/or find it difficult to engage in play with peers.

Their child may find structured play challenging where they have to listen, follow rules/instructions and maintain focus on a particular task or game.

They may find it difficult to create play opportunities to motivate and engage their child or want advise on specific toys/equipment to use at home. 

Our team is experienced with supporting families with play skills through Gabadoo

It is important to note that, if your concerns relate mainly to your child's fine motor skills, gross motor skills, sensory needs or emotional regulation which is impacting on their play, these are seperate areas of focus and therefore it may be more appropraite to focus on these areas. You can read more about them by clicking on each of the areas. 

What information do I need to include in my Gabadoo?

As our Gabadoo Team have never met your family before and know nothing about your child, they can only provide strategies based on the information you provide so be very detailed!

After you have filled in the relevant information in your Gabadoo, go through this checklist to make sure you have included the following:

Family & Home Life:

Description of your family & the structure of your family including siblings, pets or any extended family who are living in your home.

The space available within your house and outside spaces including a garden, farm or playgrounds. 

Your daily routine including school hours, drop offs, child-care and free time in the evening and at the weekends so our team provide activities that are achievable for your routine. 

Strengths and Interests:

What does your child like to do?

What games, toys, T.V. programs, characters do they like?

What type of activities do they seek out?

What are some of their sensory preferences (e.g. swinging, tickling, climbing, cuddling, music, singing)?

Do they respond to praise from adults? 

Additional Information:

What class is your child in at school?

What type of schooling do they receive? i.e. homeschooling, mainstream N.S., gaelscoil, preschool, ASD class, Special School. 

Have you seen any professionals in the past in relation to their development? If so, what was the outcome?

What have you tried before in terms of developing their play?

What does your child use as their method of communication? e.g. gestures, words, PECs, Lamh.

Make sure to include:

What you have seen at home/school and how is this impacting on your child or your family?

What would you like to gain from this Gabadoo? 

List your observations in relation to how your child currently plays, how they respond in different play situations, what currently motivates them when playing, barriers to their play development and name the different types of play that they enjoy and dislike engaging in. 

Next include videos and images of your child and their environment:

  • Video-clips of your child playing with others and different toys. 
  • Images of different play environments and toys at home is helpful. 

Remember: The more information you give our team, the more individualised and relevant your plan will be.

What support will I receive for my child?

Your information will be reviewed by one of our Gabadoo Experts who is experienced in the area of play. They will detail individualised strategies, activities, next steps and helpful organisations and products that you can use at home to support your child. 

So, I'm ready to do my Gabadoo, what's my 'Area of Focus'


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