11Case Study - JoeyPrimaryPlay Therapy - A Proven Support continuedNCGE NEWS Winter 2011At age 9, a little girl Joey, in grade 4, was referred to the playroom by the school psychologist, and by her mother Suzy. Her referral was due to learning disabilities and her lack of speaking in school. According to her mother, Joey was quite vocal at home. In all the years she had spent at the school, she had been placed in Special Education Class, and received weekly visits from the District's speech pathologists, without any noticeable improvement. As soon as she was accepted into Nana's program, tests were administered to assess learning disabilities and speech impediments. Although her scores were on the low side, Joey suffered from 'selective mutism', whereby she would elect when to speak, and when to remain silent. Currently it is well understood that this condition has nothing to do with speech impediments, or voluntary withholding of verbal communication. It is a social phobia. The more the person is asked to speak, the higher the anxiety level, and the least likely that they will be able to do it In Joey's case, once a diagnosis ruled out any physical or mental difficulties, a treatment plan was developed for individual weekly play therapy sessions to address her social phobia and anxiety.In total, Joey participated in 29 individual PT sessions. Once Joey became familiar with the playroom environment, she started exploring and experimenting. Some milestones occurred in three specific sessions: In session 6, Joey made eye contact with the play therapist and attempted to interact. In session 15, Joey attempted to speak for the first time, but quickly changed her mind. Although Joey played silently at first, the therapists would reflect and make comments on her activity, and label the feelings that were perceived, such as fear, frustration, anger or happiness. As the sessions progressed Joey started to speak, at first in whispers, and later in a normal tone. In session 22, Joey spoke audibly for the first time in the group. This was a huge achievement, raising Joey's confidence, self-esteem and her ability to mix with teachers and peers. Today, Joey is no longer in therapy and attends Junior High School. Recent reports are that she is able to speak, and is doing well in class.
12ReferencesBaggerly J. & Jenkins, W. (2009). The effectiveness of child-centred play therapy on developmental and diagnostic factors in children who are homeless. International Journal of Play Therapy.*Bennathan M. and Boxall, M (1998). The Boxall profile: a guide to effective intervention in the education of pupils with emotional and behavioural difficulties: handbook for teachers. Association of workers for Children with Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties. Jenkins, W. (2007). Evaluation of Nana's Program 2006-07. Agency Report.Jenkins, W. W, Ruter, E.F., Rock, P, (2008). Exploring structured supervision in prescriptive play therapy. Manuscript Submitted for publication, Nana's Children MHF, Phoenix, Arizona. Sutton, A. (2007). Play therapy and children who are homeless. Play Therapy, 3(4), 12-13.Schafer, C. & Drewes (2010), A School Based Play Therapy (second edition). Wiley and Sons. PrimaryPlay Therapy - A Proven Support continuedNCGE NEWS Winter 2011Nana's Model was founded by Ana Maria Sutton, MA, Founder and Director of Clinical Services of Nana's Children MHF, Inc. in Phoenix, Arizona. For more information, please refer to www.nanaschildren.orgFollowing ten years of delivery of play therapy services in schools, Nana's is seeking to become a licensed Mental Health Provider, nationally in the US, and within the State of Arizona. Ana will present once again at an international Play Therapy conference in Dublin in June, 2012. Find out more by visiting http://www.childrenstherapycentre.ie/ and http://www.playingitbetter.com/CLICK toLINKCLICK toLINKAuthorAna Sutton, Director, Nana's Children MHF