Play therapy is making a world of difference to Wigan youngsters with disabilities.
The Hop, Skip and Jump Centre at what used to be the Drumcroon art education centre has become the go-to place for children with special educational needs and their families.
And the much welcomed annexe to the neighbouring Wigan Youth Zone on Parsons Walk now has even more stimulating facilities.
It has added a LEGO Therapy Group to its activity list designed around disabled and special needs children.
Youngsters with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) enjoy structured and predictable systems and LEGO, as a systematic construction toy, gives children and adults with ASD a means to play and socialise while feeling comforted by the controlled task at hand.
The children are able to interact with their peer group in a fun and social setting while being a part of the team as all participants work together to create one project.
And since its introduction, the therapy has been working a treat.
One parent said: “Hop, Skip and Jump has made a huge social difference to our family. Being a family with children with very different needs, we have now found a place we can go as a family that both children love to go. We have found a place where we can just be ourselves and not have to explain to people how our son is different to other children. We have found it a great place to meet people in similar circumstances, to share experiences and advice and as a result we have formed so wonderful new friendships.”
A carer said: “There are very few good places where adults with severe learning difficulties can find some chill out time. As a carer, I find HSJ Wigan a really good place to take my client on wet, wintry afternoons. The sensory rooms are just what he needs. Thank you for making space available.”
Play therapy builds on the natural way that children learn about themselves and their relationships in the world around them. Successful therapy encourages children to communicate and socialise with others, express their feelings, modify behaviours, develop problem solving skills, and learn how to relate to each other and be a part of a group.
LEGO Therapy Group meets for two hours every Monday at 4.30pm. Pre-book by contacting Lynne Harrison on 01942 807373.
Hop, Skip and Jump Wigan’s core service is to provide immediate and flexible respite for those families that need support. Respite sessions can also be booked in advance for school holidays and Saturdays. Activities include: sensory play, arts and crafts, cooking, games, outside physical play and sports all following the child’s interests and encouraging social awareness.