My name’s Julia and I’m a psychologist.
I’ve been working with children for many years, helping them to overcome a very wide range of developmental issues.
All specialists who work in this field are constantly on the lookout for new materials (games, techniques), and the minute we spot something interesting, we adopt it immediately, believe me.
Around six months ago, I came across the Papaton Shadow Theater, and I thought it was a fascinating idea! Not only is it fun, but it comes in a convenient, modern format which makes use of devices, which makes it very attractive to kids!
How does it work?
A game, a psychocorrective technique or something else—the name depends on what, specifically, you are doing as a professional or as a parent. First, you need to involve a family or a group of children under adult supervision. In my case, it’s families with children with severe learning difficulties, autism or autistic spectrum disorders and many other conditions.
With this activity, we can create a wonderfully friendly, safe space, which in turn allows participants to loosen up and move past the child’s—and very often the entire family’s—many psychological defenses to improve your emotional state and become closer to one another.
It allows parents to feel that they themselves can offer their child psychological support. Through a game, they can help the child to change his or her behavior and improve his or her mood. This undoubtedly leads to better family and social interactions.
And this is precisely the parents’ main role: to offer their children support, socialize them, teach them and help them interact with the world in the right way.
By bypassing children’s psychological defenses and resistance, this game helps children to improve their emotional range, expand their horizons, acquire and consolidate communication skills and learn to socialize.
As someone who knows your children inside out, you can guide this process through the activity.
When you tell the story, you can use more or less emotion. You can choose the story to fit a situation or, most importantly of all, you can make up your own story.
These stories can and must be appropriate to the children. They must be able to recognize themselves in the fictional characters and surroundings, but they must also be able to see indirectly, through a character, how the latter handles a situation that is challenging or traumatic for the child themselves and use the character’s experience to take action.
With use of this psychocorrective technique or, in simpler terms, game, we see improved mood and a reduction in emotional distress, which frequently disappears altogether. Families become closer, since emotional engagement within the safe space that we create with the story helps parents to start to understand the root of the problem and the fear which their child is experiencing.
Parents gain an additional tool that they can use to help their child, and improve their communications skills and ability to overcome lots of problems related to the emotional wellbeing, identity, and socialization of children with developmental issues.