SILVA, Vanussa Sampaio Dias da. CARVALHO, Priscila Viviane de Sousa. Playful contributions to child development in the neuropsychology clinic. Revista Científica Multidisciplinar Núcleo do Conhecimento. Year 05, Ed. 11, Vol. 03, pp. 49-63. November 2020. ISSN: 2448-0959, Access link: https://www.nucleodoconhecimento.com.br/psychology/neuropsychology-clinic
The study aims to evaluate the contributions of playfulness in child development and its viability in neuropsychology clinic, also highlighting its potential for communication, expression and projection which favors the neuropsychologist a better diagnosis and intervention. We propose to research the theorists’ conceptions about the importance of playfulness for the development of areas and skills indispensable to the child and the way this activity is one of the main resources in the children’s neuropsychology clinic. The hypotheses are that the playful activity contributes significantly to child development, is stimulating and motivating, in addition to being an important resource in the clinic with children. The methodology used will be bibliographic, qualitative and descriptive. This study is organized in: Neuroscience and playfulness in the construction of child development, psychology and playfulness in child development and playfulness as a therapeutic resource for diagnosis and intervention in children’s clinic, and we approach in these the main theoretical conceptions about the contributions from playfulness in childhood, until entering into the discussion of it as a playful resource contributes to the clinic in diagnosis and intervention, taking into account the importance that it has for the treatment of children with difficulties and / or developmental delay.
Keywords: Playful, therapeutic resource, neuropsychology.
Neuroscience and psychology in different areas, but sometimes interconnected, have made countless contributions to understand how child development takes place, in parallel with scholars in these areas, they have been engaged in researching important resources and activities, especially playful ones, which contribute to stimulate and motivate childhood development. Studies and experiences have been described and reported in literature on the efficiency of playfulness also in children’s clinic in neuropsychology.
The theme was chosen because it recognizes that playing has been shown in the development of children and in its use as a resource in children’s neuropsychology clinic for diagnosis and intervention.
The hypotheses are that playful activity contributes significantly to child development, is stimulating and motivating, in addition to being an important diagnostic and therapeutic resource in the clinic with children who have difficulties and / or developmental delay, as it is known that the act of playing is something intrinsic, spontaneous and projective and for this reason it appears as a fundamental piece for communication, observation, information collection and intervention in the clinical care process.
The study also seeks to contribute to the field of child development in several aspects and fields of intervention, especially as a resource to support the therapist in the field of clinical neuropsychology.
The research has as its knowledge area the biological and human sciences, it aims to discover what the playful contributions are in child development and in the Neuropsychology Clinic, highlighting which and how these playful actions (games, games, drawings, storytelling , among others) has an important contribution in identifying the child’s neurological, emotional and educational difficulties.
Research as it is in the areas of neuroscience and psychology on playing, also contribute to the motivation of adoption and the encouragement of this activity in numerous situations in the first phase of life.
Seeking to learn more about this topic also brings us the possibility of pointing out what types of areas and cognitive skills playful aids in development and rehabilitation, highlighting what the authors of neuroscience and psychology think about and their contributions in the clinic and in rehabilitation for advances development and learning. We will be highlighting the speeches of authors about playfulness and its viability, among them Piaget (1975), Vygotsky (2000), Relvas (2009 and 2015), Meyer (2004), Cunha (1994), Maluf (2004), Kishimoto (2002 ), who defend playing as an important activity for development and recognize it as a resource for the work of different professionals.
This study is organized in chapters: Neuroscience and playfulness in child development construction, psychology and playfulness in child development and playfulness as a therapeutic resource for diagnosis and intervention in children’s clinic, where we approach in these the main theoretical conceptions about the contributions from playfulness in childhood, until entering into the discussion of it as a playful resource contributes to the clinic in diagnosis and intervention, taking into account the importance of this for the treatment of children who have difficulties and / or delay in development.
Finally, the work seeks to prove the effectiveness of the use of playfulness as a diagnostic and therapeutic resource in the clinic, highlighting how this contribution is made.
2. NEUROSCIENCE AND THE PLAYER IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF CHILD DEVELOPMENT
Neuroscience as a science when asked about the contributions of playfulness in child development, seeks answers about this important and intrinsic activity for healthy childhood. Playfulness is part of a theme that has been studied extensively by several areas and presents a great bias in the possibilities of acting, either as leisure activity, or as an important resource and ally in different areas such as education, psychology and the neuroscience itself interested in the cognitive processes of child’s learning.
We see today in the various studies in the area of Neuroscience that is suggesting new paths for the neuropsychology clinic with children and adolescents, scores that sharpened the development of this study. It is in clinical practice that we neuropsychologists are constantly confronted with developmental problems, leading us to the need to understand the capacities and cognitive potentiality present in the individuals served, acting and intervening with these problems, seeking in the neuroscience the answers and alternatives for improvement in our intervention.
Neuroscience is an area of knowledge that studies more deeply the understanding of the human brain, as well as its development and functioning, involving different professionals and revolutionizing scientific studies. It provides reliable answers to questions about human learning, helping to understand what is common to all brains. (RELVAS, 2018, p.1).
Relvas (2015) draws attention to the several possible functional limitations existing in the central nervous system and the need for neuroscience to be concerned not only with studying these functions and their limitations, but with learning how to apply methodologies and didactic resources in order to enhance the neural networks of learners correctly. It also highlights that it is a fact to be able to solve or alleviate several learning difficulties, since the student is stimulated to neural stimuli, once the knowledge of the processes and principles through which the brain goes, knowing and identifying its functional areas, with objectives of establishing alternative routes for learning acquisition, using sensory resources, with instruments of thinking and doing.
According to Relvas (2015) to trigger cognitive learning, we need a complex and dynamic process that led to changes in the functional structures of the CNS (Central Nervous System). The transformations arise from a motor and perceptive act elaborated in the cerebral cortex. We believe that play has a great potential to stimulate the senses and be able to access areas and higher nervous functions and trigger cognitive actions of several commands necessary for learning.
Without the contributions of neuropsychology, it would be impossible for us scholars and therapists to discuss proposals and ways to enhance neural networks and the appropriate use of resources and methods of intervention in the rehabilitation of impaired higher functions in the development of children seen at the clinic. As highlighted by Relvas (2015) it is from the stimulation of these sensory resources, triggered in the use of playfulness, for example, that we can obtain responses to the stimulation of the instruments of thinking and doing
Researcher Sousa (2005 apud GUIMARÃES; SILVA 2017, p.126), point out that:
The brain likes to play because this activity stimulates the limbic system (responsible for processing emotions) and produces well-being, pleasure and joy. Playing, being significant for the neural network, strengthens the synapses (neural circuits) that connect the limbic system to the neocortex, providing decision-making, that is, rational skills that favor learning.
Therefore, it is clear that these emotions help brain learning.
The constant research and reports of important neuroscientists reinforce the thesis that the information obtained by the children is fixed in the memory for a longer time, due to its stimulus, and in this way they will generate significant mechanisms of activation of the learning.
The aim of us researchers is to take the guidelines and indications of important researchers pointed out in this study, to discover, in theory, how playfulness is triggering sensations and feelings organically and emotionally, which makes it a potentializer of important learning triggers based on the understanding of how the brain works at the time of playful activity.
According to neuroscience, games release transmitters that improve learning without causing depression, exhaustion or stress and prepare the student in new skills throughout his more formal learning. With play, the brain releases dopamine, known as the pleasure hormone and norepinephrine. In this way, several other organs are activated and improve brain plasticity. We will have as a global effect a broad collaboration for learning. (GUIMARÃES; SILVA, 2017, p.127).
The various authors point to playfulness as an activity that promotes development and well-being in children, this important activity, organically natural and intrinsic, is something instinctive and natural that the baby already brings as a potential, no one is born knowing how to play, but no one is born without any ability to develop playfulness. It is an activity initiated in childhood, complete with development and indispensable for healthy maturation.
Maluf (2004) emphasizes that in the child’s development, he will learn countless games and with that he will interact with other children, the games will evolve, but the interest that was observed in the early stages will not be lost and this is only possible when the it respects its own pace. Playing awakens your tendencies towards experimentation.
Kishimoto (2002) argues that all Playful Activity has its function, and whoever practices will have the chance of a good psychological and motor development.
Through playful activities, the subject-apprentice exercises skills of cognitive functions, which are: perception, attention, memory, language and executive functions. Playfulness provides adequate conditions for physical, motor, emotional, cognitive and social development, in which actions aimed at playfulness stimulate the desire to learn, becoming the gateway to the outside world, facilitating the interpretation of the brain in the cognitive process. (MALUF, 2004).
It is possible to highlight in this research the greatness of the cognitive development that is the speech in the child, that according to a work published on the FAPESP website, by Schimitd (2019) in his thesis points out that language is an important dimension to be stimulated and further developed in early childhood whose development of the verbal repertoire depends on an appropriate biological apparatus and the manipulation of ontogenetic and cultural contingencies by the verbal community. A fact to be highlighted, since the child is still immature in his organic capacity, he will not have a developed vocal repertoire that provides him with resources for a good understanding and verbal argument with the therapist.
Despite this, it is observed that playing favors and helps not understand situations and feelings, which does not yet have the resources and maturity to speak, but that in the playful situation the child manifests. According to Silveira and Silvares (2003 apud GADELHA; MENEZES 2004) activities such as games, dramatizations and others, can show verbal behavior regarding the highlighting of feelings and states of lack of affection, in addition to being able to strengthen relationships.
Froebel (1912, apud KISHIMOTO 2002, p.27) “conceives playing as a free and spontaneous activity, responsible for physical, moral and cognitive development; and the gifts of toys as objects that subsidize children’s activities ”. Playing, as a child activity, not only has the capacity to develop potential, but it is itself motivating and inviting, the child hardly refuses the appeals of a toy or a game. Demotivation in the face of an activity can be indicative of problems. Whether of organic or psychic origin.
For Cunha (1994, p. 11), “it is playing the child develops its potential and does not feel tired”. The hidden challenges in playing make the child think and achieve better levels of performance. A child is, by itself, curious and has a keen imagination, is connected to the world and needs this exploratory exercise on a daily basis to develop in a healthy way.
Maluf (2004) among other favorable aspects of playing highlights that play becomes a moment in which the child demonstrates his creativity, imagination, intelligence and potential. Through play, they can develop skills that are indispensable for future professional performance, such as good attention, good concentration and other psychomotor skills.
Within this perspective, we believe that playfulness as a resource for the development of learning is an important ally to neural networks and the entire development process, constituting interest for neuroscience.
3. PSYCHOLOGY AND THE PLAYER IN CHILD DEVELOPMENT
It is noteworthy that play and games are of paramount importance with regard to child development and from the point of view of Psychology, because when playing the child rescues in a playful way the pleasure of learning, ceasing to be something imposed and becomes viewed in a natural way.
Therefore, for Kishimoto (2002, p.1):
The power to make decisions, express feelings and values, to know oneself, others and the world, to repeat pleasurable actions, to share, to express one’s individuality identity through different languages, to use the body, the senses, the movements, to solve problems and create. When playing, the child experiences the power to explore the world of objects, people, nature and culture, to understand and express it through various languages. But it is on the imagination that play stands out for the mobilization of meanings. Finally, its importance is related to the culture of childhood, which puts play as a tool for children to express themselves, learn and develop.
It can be considered that Guimarães and Silva (2017), took into account the importance of play, placing it in “the place of an integral part of the child’s development and that without it the little ones lose precious opportunities for fundamental learning for the construction of their knowledge ”And their psychological well-being.
Playfulness in the first years of life is essential for growth, as it is through it and its stimulus will be developed cognitive, sensory and motor actions, for example, speech, the language that will facilitate interaction and socialization with other children, being playing outside the school environment or even in pre-school, where they have children of similar or different ages, due to the space in which it is inserted. Thus Guimarães and Silva (2017, p.125), consider that:
In playing with others or alone, the child makes use of all his resources to explore the world and get to know himself, build his thoughts and work on his affections, his ability to have initiative and be sensitive to each situation, learn to live and develop . The activity of playing helps children to share knowledge, belong to a group, build their identity, communicate with themselves and with others, establish ways of relating to each other, appropriate and produce culture, exercise decision-making and create.
We could not fail to direct, within a look from psychology and its relationship with playfulness in childhood, to the psychogenetic theories of Jean Piaget and Levy Vygotsky.
In order to understand Piaget’s (1975, p.207) thinking about playfulness, to which he highlighted games, the author discussed concepts such as accommodation and assimilation, present in all stages of development in a continuous process, and emphasizes “[ …] The game constitutes the extreme pole of the assimilation of the real to the self ”. Thus, Piaget (1975) points out that the game can be presented to the child in the early years, and highlights that in the early stages of development, behavior, in its majority, became a game, within the assimilation process. And he classified the games in “Exercise Game, Symbolic Game and the Rule Game”, present in the different phases and periods of the child.
The play analyzed from the socio-historical perspective is understood as a social activity of the child, whose specific nature and origin are fundamental elements for the construction of personality and understanding of reality. And, in children’s games, imagination is used, as well as imitation and rules to be respected, which are subject to psychological issues, such as: thinking, language, memory, attention, perception and learning, valuing the characteristics of childhood with their needs respecting chronological age, the role of the toy in particular for the child inserted in a socio-cultural context as factors influencing the child’s personality and education. (VYGOTSKY, 2000).
4. THE PLAYER AS A THERAPEUTIC RESOURCE FOR DIAGNOSIS AND INTERVENTION IN THE CHILDREN’S CLINIC
In a proposal for clinical care, the neuropsychologist must take into account the chronological age and interests of the child, with objects and toys available in quality and quantity satisfactory to their demands. These toys should be varied in their different types of stimuli and areas to be worked, sometimes in free activities, sometimes under mediation. Children evaluated at the clinic go through different stages, with different activities and resources, in order to identify changes in their development and intervene early, directing an intervention plan and guidelines.
Some areas of intervention and children’s clinic are unanimous in recognizing the importance of playfulness as a diagnostic and therapeutic clinical management resource, being the focus of numerous researches in the areas of psychopedagogy, psychology, neuropsychological, pediatrics, psychiatry, among others.
Within the child psychoanalyst clinic, one of the main representatives, Winnicott (1975) fundamentally recognizes the importance of playfulness in childhood and in any form of intervention with it:
The natural thing is to play and the highly perfected phenomenon of the 20th century is psychoanalysis. For the analyst, it is still valuable to constantly remember not only what is due to Freud, but also what we owe to the natural and universal thing called play. (WINNICOTT, 1975, p.63).
Weiss (2010), an important theorist in clinical psychopedagogy, will bring the importance of the therapist-method-patient relationship highlighted by Winnicott (1975) to talk about the encounter that is established between the therapist and the patient when a space is opened to play during the diagnosis , where a movement towards health and healing is already possible, because according to Winnicott (1975, p.59) “psychotherapy takes place in the overlap of two areas of play, that of the patient and that of the therapist. Psychotherapy is about two people who play together ”. For a similar encounter, the neuropsychologist, in an act of playing, provides the patient with this encounter, which is therapeutic, creating spaces for intervention and healing on learning problems, having a good knowledge of the handling of this resource.
For a similar encounter, the neuropsychologist, in an act of playing, provides the patient with this encounter, which is therapeutic, creating spaces for intervention and healing on learning problems, having a good knowledge of the handling of this resource while using it. According to Weiss (2010, p.73):
The diagnostic play session is distinguished from the therapeutic one, because in this the process of playing occurs spontaneously, while in the diagnosis there are more defined limits. In the latter, provocative and limiting interventions can be made to observe the child’s reaction: whether or not he accepts the proposals, reveals how he wants or can play in that situation, how he resists frustrations, how he elaborates challenges and changes in the situation, etc.
Meyer (2004) reinforces the primordial function of playing in childhood and the extent to which toy becomes an important therapeutic and intervention medium due to its particularities and connection with the exercise of the simulation of reality, which are essential for clinical handling in childhood:
The toy stimulates representation, the expression of images that evoke aspects of reality. The toy as an object is the material that allows the child’s imagination to flow. (…) The toy ends up being the substitute for real objects, thus being able to manipulate them. (…) In play, the sense of reality can change: things become different. Objects can take on different roles than they represent. (MEYER 2004, p.38).
Winnicott (1965 apud MALUF 2004), “places play as an intermediate area of experimentation to which the internal and external reality contribute”. In this way, the child becomes able to relate his internal situations with his external reality, becoming able to react to the context and to perceive himself in the world.
Pereira (2004, p.40) highlights important and complex cognitive actions involved in playing, declaring that “to play it is necessary to communicate and interpret, based on a decision on the part of those who play”.
Playing, is observed in the author’s thinking as a construction process, it is a succession of decisions and rules to be obeyed within a playful universe, shared or not with others, in a clinical service or in another environment. There are children who now demand to play alone, involved in their action, in others they seek to share the playful moment.
According to Wajkop (1999, p.38), when the adult proposes to intervene with the child, intermediated by a playful resource, he is advised, “sometimes as an observer and organizer, sometimes as a character that explains or questions and enriches the unfolding of the plot, now as a link between children and the object”.
Playful activities require an initial clarification, where the child should always be put at ease, emphasizing play, the way of playing and the relationship he has with the therapist, where it is presented as playful as a diagnosed clinical activity. Thus, Weiss (2010, p.76) states that:
Because it is a game inherent to man, and for revealing his integral personality spontaneously, it favors obtaining specific and differentiated data in relation to the patient’s Learning Model. Thus, aspects of the knowledge you already have, cognitive functioning and the links and meanings existing in learning, the path used to learn and not learn, what you can reveal, what you need to hide and how you do it can be clearly observed through the game.
Observed in the authors’ speeches, play is also a therapeutic resource, a space for projections and sublimations of negative feelings and experiences, so indispensable to cure in certain cases. When playing, the therapist should, whenever necessary, direct the activity, carry out interventions and making the objective of the game clear, depending on the child’s moment so that, through play, he can work on his impulsiveness, aggressiveness, impulsivity, as well as learn to deal with the destructiveness itself. (OLIVEIRA, 2014).
Therefore, it was possible to perceive that, like Oliveira (2014), that the authors mentioned above, agree and see how important it is to use toys, games and games as therapeutic activities in children’s clinics and encourage professionals, including neuropsychologists, to make use of of these materials with adequate knowledge, not only placing toys for children, but knowing how to abstract from the playful moment, the best of the child, the hypotheses for the origin of their problem and in itself a therapeutic aid resource.
Maluf (2004) calls our attention to the participation of the adult in playing with the child, with the possible elevation of the child’s interest in playing, to feel challenged and honored by the adult. The adult, in turn, can help the child to new experiences and discoveries enriching learning.
Taking to the therapist-child relationship, where the therapist is equipped with techniques, as an adult and professional he is better able to contribute to the patient’s growth and progress. We must, as Maluf (2004) points out, have an open mind to playfulness, recognize its importance for child development. The relationship between play and the child’s development allows important mental functions to be known more clearly, such as the development of reasoning and language. Important aspects evaluated in the neuropsychology clinic.
Gadelha and Menezes (2004, p. 62) reveal that:
Some playful strategies have been used by us in clinical practice with the aim of favoring the bonding with the child, identifying the concepts and rules that govern his behavior, verifying his relationship with people in the environments in which he is inserted, identifying his feelings in relation to herself, to certain people and situations, to train the solution of everyday problems, to develop skills, to work on self-confidence and to favor concentration and relaxation.
In a study, the main playful strategies to be developed in the therapeutic relationship with the child in behavioral therapy by the psychologist were interestingly scored by the researcher, understanding through the playful interaction of the child with the therapist, where he can develop different skills, it can work on the child’s self-confidence and self-esteem, develops concentration and relaxes the child in clinical meetings.
In neuropsychology, the performance of ludic activity helps in the development of important areas and cognitive skills. Therefore, several researchers related to neuroscience and psychology are interested in explaining the contributions of playfulness in child development as a way to stimulate the use of this resource in different contexts of childhood.
The use of playfulness in the neuropsychology clinic becomes an important resource in the diagnosis and treatment of children who have difficulties and / or developmental delay, as it is known that the act of playing is something intrinsic, spontaneous and projective of the child, appearing as fundamental piece for communication, observation, information collection and intervention in the clinical care process.
The present work, whose research is focused on the biological and human sciences, aims to emphasize the contributions of playfulness in child development and in the Neuropsychology Clinic, emphasizing that these playful activities (games, games, storytelling, drawings, among others) has an important contribution in identifying the child’s neurological, emotional and educational difficulties, helps with therapy, being supported by important and recent authors.
It is a qualitative research developed, in the search to understand the nature of a phenomenon that requires knowledge in several areas. This method was chosen because it provides answers to the characteristics that the study presents, taking into account that it is the most appropriate approach. This method values the researcher’s creativity in conducting his investigation, it is a flexible and non-linear method. Its flexibility gives method a character to question the new, new concepts and paradigms resulting from social phenomena, regarding these aspects Minayo (1992, p.98) highlights:
[…] Qualitative methods present the great possibilities for operationalizing the concepts that emerge from the new paradigms. This method focuses on interrogating the phenomena that occur with human beings in social life, but especially the construction of theoretical marks, based on the information from the reality studied, which will later serve as references for other studies.
This research is characterized as bibliographic, for making use of content available in books, articles and specialized magazines, in addition to materials available on the web, in order to counter the ideas of several theorists on the same theme. In this search perspective, the bibliographic research according to Gil (1999, p.65) “allows the researcher to cover a range of phenomena much broader than he could research directly”.
The main objective of the research is, in addition to finding results, to analyze and understand the theme, in order to develop and improve clinical practices and, consequently, better understand the method of teaching and learning for children.
This study is organized for purposes of better disposition in chapters, being that we approach the main theoretical conceptions about the contributions of the ludic in childhood, until entering into the discussion of this as ludic resource contributes to the clinic in the diagnosis and intervention, taking into account the importance that has this for the treatment of children with difficulties and / or developmental delay.
Subsequently, the bibliographic research will analyze the information, theoretical discussions, final consideration and bibliographic reference. Similarly, it is expected to contribute to the dissemination of information, as it becomes the subject of debates between professionals and students from different areas.
7. FINAL CONSIDERATIONS
Many scholars of neurology and psychology, among other areas, have explored many questions about the importance of playfulness in child development, where they highlight its relevance and significant contribution to their learning with influence in important cognitive areas;
The adoption of a children’s resource based on playfulness in therapeutic care is undoubtedly related to the adoption of an important activity in childhood within a context of rehabilitation care, especially in neuropsychology, although it is possible and indispensable to think about it in different contexts. and primary care practice areas.
The playfulness in the children’s clinic when used as a resource favors communication, expanding the verbal repertoire, being able to strengthen the verbal behavior in the child about which the therapist will have better conditions to understand what is happening with the child, strengthening this communication, often not verbal.
In the neuropsychology clinic, the use of play becomes an important ally in the diagnosis and therapy of children who have difficulties and / or developmental delay, as it is known that the act of playing is something intrinsic, spontaneous and projective of the child and for this reason it emerges as a fundamental piece for communication, observation, information collection and intervention in the clinical care process.
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 Graduated in Bachelor of Psychology from the Federal University of Maranhão, postgraduate in Psychopedagogy from CAPEM, Neuropsychology from SINAPSE and UEMA postgraduate in Special and Inclusive Education.
 Advisor. Master of Arts. Graduation in Full Degree in Letters / English.
Submitted: February, 2020.
Approved: November, 2020.