Years ago my boys and I would spend a lot of time playing with play dough. It's recommended for ages 2 and over and really good for their fine motor skills. They are growing up and almost out of elementary school now but they still love it.
As a foster family we have recently been directed to a RADS diagnosis for one of our little ones. It's kind of a big deal but thank goodness he is still little. There's a great deal to learn about the cause and effect of having Reactive Attachment Disorder. I won't go into detail about the diagnosis we have but you can read more about it here.
What I want to focus on is the healing. I'm no expert on RADS but I'm learning and my background is Early Childhood Education and Reading. These two degrees have given me an excellent base to start remediation at home while Occupational Therapy takes place with the professionals.
These photos are of my boys when they were little. We loved to squish and model together on our patio table. Today I bring the activity in doors at the kitchen table until the weather permits us to go outside. I'm going to post links to a few of my favorite recipes for homemade play dough and activity at the end of this blog.
How can playing with play dough be beneficial for a child with RADS? It has to be a combined effort between caregiver and child.
Working on building an attachment is one part of the process. The other part is trust. For children with RADS they have been let down by their caregivers in the past. The connections in the brain that connect a caregiver to trust or love just simply isn't there. So we build new ones. Like a bridge from island to island we work on building trust and love. Following trust and love is self worth and recognition.
As as I sit with my FS (foster son) I pull out of a box a choice of tools. I let him pick which ones he wants to try. He's intrigued by the plastic knife and extruder tools. I pinch off several colors of play dough and show him how to squish, roll, and model. I make it a point to sit beside him and help him. I show him new techniques and help when needed. Being very considerate of the fact he may not ask for help but would rather adapt to meet his own need.
The task at hand helps him:
Here are a few resources I loved
Tip Junkie's No Cook Kool-Aid Play Dough
Jell-O Play Dough
Yogurt Play Dough