Thursday, July 24, 2008

Developmental play group keeps kids learning all summer

Aiden Slaven, 3, seems to enjoy the play group.

The Vero Beach. Fla. Press Journal reports that a developmental play group began this week at the Sun Up Center, a Vero Beach, Fla., organization for developmentally disabled children.

The father of a child with autism, Mike Dolan said: "I'm trying to keep him active all summer. Although he received physical, occupational and speech therapy at school, it stopped during the summer because he wasn't eligible for summer school. In addition to the play group, he's taking karate lessons so I'm really trying everything I can think of to keep him busy."

The newspaper reports that "the classes are designed for parents and their infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers, and include children with Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy and other disabilities. Kids and their parents start out each session by sitting on floor mats and singing songs. Trained therapists such as Charlotte Bianco lead the group through activities such as gymnastics, music, art and dance."

"The goal is to meet each child's therapeutic needs through play," said Bianco. "It is also a wonderful opportunity for parents and children to bond."