The Dynamic Model for Play Choice emphasizes that a child’s choice of play is the result of a dynamic interaction among four characteristic categories, including relational (peers, adults, siblings, cooperation, shared or deferred choice), child (age, gender, ability), activity (level of difficulty, active/passive), and contextual (location, weather). The perceived fun activities with appropriate level of challenge are repeated because of the positive emotion which attached to the activity like fun and happiness and therefore, preference is emerged. Such the continued engagement contributes to mastery. This model describes a dynamic system with circular causality, indicating that all variables in the systems affect one another. This interrelationship between the characteristics of the child (which belongs to the child category) and the level of challenge (which belongs to the activity category) influences the perception of play. The match between the child’s ability level and the activity’s difficulty level, also known as the “just-right challenge”, is important in treatment using this model. The just-right challenge allows the child to persist in therapeutic activities and the emergence of patterns of preferred behavior. When there are patterns of preferred behavior, a shallow or deep attractor state emerges. Deep attractor states denote the emergence of behavior patterns that are highly preferred and repeated. The perception of fun is a source of deep states. The four characteristic categories and the concept of the idea of fun are important in influencing the child’s’ play choices. Interventions using this model emphasize playful therapeutic activities with just-right challenge, which often include relational like peers and significant others. In this model, therapeutic activities can be chosen by therapist, because intrinsic motivation of a child is viewed as what he/she perceives as fun instead of specific activity chosen by the child. If the activity is perceived as fun, the child would experience positive emotion then a preference pattern will be emerged, and eventually contributes to mastery.
- Macey Cho
- Model (conceptual)
Domain of occupation
The use of appropriate level of challenge in playful therapeutic activities is emphasized.
Miller, E., & Kuhaneck, H. (2008). Children's perceptions of play experiences and play preferences: A qualitative study. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 62, 407-415.
- Elissa Miller
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