Play partners: Parental involvement in a pre-school project for children with communication difficulties
This chapter describes parental involvement in a multi-professional intervention for pre-school children with communication difficulties. Parent support group sessions aim to empower parents to become responsive play partners with their children. Parents gain insight through the use of parable rather than precept, and create their own solutions instead of simply following expert professional advice. Instead of learning from direct instruction, both parents and children take turns and converse around joint activities. Conversational exchange in natural contexts is believed to be at the heart of speaking and understanding. To be avoided are strategies that teach elements of language in a structured manner with a high level of adult control. Such unequal relationships are seen to militate against play partnerships. Children with communication difficulties are believed to need more not less exposure to such facilitative play partners.