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The Healing Power of Play - Page 5


We started taking out the farm animals and drying them off. Bobby watched intently and didn't want to join in this task at first, but soon indicated he wanted to help. I showed him different-colored hand towels and let him choose a blue one, and then he joined the rest of us drying off the animals. It wasn't until the rest of us had the dogs playing in the water that Bobby engaged in interactive play with the dogs for the first time, making them chase each other through the water. During this session, he was laughing and squealing with enjoyment.

Before the family arrived for the third session, three days later, Bobby's mother called to say they were thrilled that his speech was returning, although it was mostly babbling rather than the distinct words he'd used before the accident. He was also less irritable and clung less to her, though he still wasn't sleeping well.

The same props were in place for the third session, but the plastic container was filled slightly higher. I was careful in this session, as I had been in the previous one, to make sure the water was room temperature, because I didn't want to expose Bobby to the cold water he'd experienced in the well. The water was clear and shallow as well.

I began the session by demonstrating the play action of the day. I put the larger animals into the water, but then I had them come bouncing back out in a gleeful way, as if there were a submerged trampoline in the container. I repeated the action several times with each animal.

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