#OTalk 24th July 2018 – Play as a Goal in Paediatric OT

This weeks chat is on the topic of play as a goal in paediatric OT and will be hosted by our Student Digital Intern Carolina (@Colourful_OT).  Here is what Carolina has to say…

Play is recognised as one of children’s most important occupations and forms a major part of paediatric occupational therapy. However, a paper published this year (Moore and Lynch, 2018) found that the paediatric occupational therapists surveyed primarily used play as a “means” (e.g. using play to build rapport or as an intervention to improve motor skills) rather than as an “end” of therapy (e.g. carrying out interventions to enable a child to participate in play activities), and rarely set goals that related to children’s occupational performance in play. Barriers to play-centred practice identified included lack of education regarding play and play being perceived as a “waste of time” amongst parents and teachers unless it was being used for skill acquisition.

As a student who recently finished a placement in primary care paediatrics in which play was used extensively to improve handwriting and gross/fine motor skills, I found this paper thought-provoking, and I wanted to see what experience other occupational therapists have had of goal-setting around play. I am particularly interested to see if different approaches to play are taken in different areas of practice, and how setting goals relating to participation in play fits into other core concepts in occupational therapy, such as being occupation-focused and being child- and family-centred.

#OTalk discussion questions for this chat:

  1. Do you have experience of setting therapy goals or measuring outcomes relating to children’s participation in play?
  2. Do other occupations such as schoolwork and ADLs tend to take priority over play occupations in paediatric practice, and why?
  3. Can children’s play be accurately assessed using play assessments (e.g. the Play Observation Scale) and should these be more widely used?
  4. Do you think involving children more in goal-setting would lead to more play-focused therapy goals?


Alice Moore, Helen Lynch, (2018) “Play and play occupation: a survey of paediatric occupational therapy practice in Ireland”, Irish Journal of Occupational Therapy, Vol. 46 Issue: 1, pp.59-72, https://doi.org/10.1108/IJOT-08-2017-0022

Post Chat

Online transcript

#OTalk Healthcare Social Media Transcript July 24th 2018

The Numbers

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16 Participants
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#OTalk Participants


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