Adapting child-centered play therapy for children with spinal muscular atrophy.

Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is the foremost genetic cause of infant mortality. Although the current standard of care for diagnosed individuals is well-established, interventions that potentially facilitate the socioemotional health of children with SMA are lacking. As of today, the use of play therapy for children with unique physical needs, such as those with SMA, have not been documented in research. Play therapy can benefit children with SMA because it provides an environment where children discover their own strengths and develop a greater sense of self-responsibility and self-reliance. Specifically, child-centered play therapy may be beneficial by focusing not on the child’s diagnosis, but rather on the child’s self-concept and freedom of expression. This article includes a general overview of SMA, suggests adaptive ways to incorporate the use of child-centered play therapy to best meet the needs of children diagnosed with SMA, and addresses other considerations related to the family context. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)