While research shows that children functioning between the ages of 18 months and 4 years old who have deficits in social and play behavior will benefit from the Meta-Play lessons and activities, older children with disabilities might benefit from the curriculum, as well. Children who have difficulty with imaginative and pretend play and who have difficulty playing with toys, objects or other children are also good candidates for the program.
Meta-Play lessons should be implemented daily! Teachers and facilitators should try to create a ‘Meta-Play Environment’ to promote lesson generalization across various activities and settings.
A typical lesson is intended to last approximately 15-20 minutes. These lessons can be expanded based on your students’ engagement.
Meta-Play has an easy-to-follow manual designed to meet the needs of early childhood and special education teachers, paraprofessionals, behavior specialists, speech and language pathologists, occupational therapists, guidance counselors and more!
Absolutely! Teachers can collect data using the data sheets included in the teachers manual, or via the assessment tool on the website or mobile application.
In the beginning, some materials might be aversive, or non-preferred, to your students. Slowly introduce materials at your students’ comfort level. Based on your students’ response and level of tolerance, increase engagement with the materials and encourage your students to interact with the lessons and materials independently and during peer interactions. If necessary, use highly preferred items or materials to introduce new materials in a positive way. Another strategy to support program success is to identify materials that can easily be generalized. For example, you can substitute the vehicle with the face (included in your Meta-Play kit) for a Thomas the Train or Lightening McQueen from Cars.
No! Based on your students performance and level of engagement, lessons within an activity can be skipped. It is important to note, though, that lessons are scaffolded and presented from easiest to most challenging. For example, lesson 1 in each activity is intended to increase tolerance and engagement, and lesson 4 targets typical play behaviors.
The best place to start is with an activity that your student seems interested in. For example, if your student has an interest in toy cars, start with Activity 4. If your student has an interest in the toy kitchen or engaging with others during mealtime, start with Activity 1. One strategy is to present the materials from the Meta-Play kit to your students. Observe your students’ engagement level with each object, and begin with the activity that includes the material that your student was most interested in.
Promote generalization by practicing the skills in different environments, with different peers, and using different materials. Also, include other professionals in the implementation process. Ask the librarian to implement a lesson that promotes pretend play during story time, or the art teacher to hide materials during a lesson. The lessons and skills within the Meta-Play program can quickly and easily be adapted to easily promote generalization!