Dodam-dodam Little Children’s Play Therapy Room

It has been a year since Dodam-dodam Little Children’s Play Therapy Room was opened. We provided 167 children in need of protection with personalized therapy 1,470 times in 2018. Through early detection and treatment, we will have children see a better tomorrow.

Making plans for treatment through close examinations

The day when development examination is given in Dodam-dodam Little Children’s Play Therapy Room, Jeong-uh who is waiting to be adopted owing to the unavoidable circumstances of his unmarried mother steps in the room with his foster mother. “Shall we play the block game? Here’s sounding buses, too.” The child boy does not want to be out of the arms of his foster mother at first probably because of the unfamiliar environment. The nurses’ effort makes him begin to open his mind and come closer, though. “Let’s find a small one. Which one is smaller?” He takes a smaller one and hands it to her. “Now, let’s put it into the cup and take it out.” The nurse keeps ordering up. It is the process for examining his development status. She continues the examination skillfully at the level of his eyes in order for him not to get distracted. She even examines minute things about his usual behavior closely through his foster mother. Hearing the mother say that he does not seem to like eye contact, the play therapist also joins together. Staying beside them, the therapist watches him with attention to see if he really needs to be treated. As the examination is over, not only the nurse and the therapist but also the social worker who saw how he was taken into the care of his foster family gets together to set up a treatment plan for him. There is every reason for checking his condition closely like this.

Babies and infants in need of protection requiring medical support

Like Jeong-uh, the children in the care of Social Welfare Society, Inc. are babies and infants who were born to unmarried mothers, whose parents have given up their parental rights, and 20.2 percent of whom have medical problems. They are 19 months slow in language development, 14 months slow in physical development, and 13 months slow in cognitive development in comparison with those their age. This explains why the involvement in development boost as well as medical support is required. The average age of the unmarried mothers asking for the adoption of their children is twenty two. Undernourishment and exposure to harmful environment resulting from late awareness of pregnancy at an early age and mental pressure put by social prejudices against unmarried mothers are pointed out as the causes affecting the health and development of their children negatively. Nurse Hyeon-ji Ryu stresses that early selection of the children in the high risk group in terms of disorder or developmental retardation. “It’s necessary to examine little children’s development status to see if their gross motors, fine motors, cognitive ability, language ability and sociality develop well in line with their age. Babies and infants in need of protection are likely to be faced with developmental problems due to the absence of main fosterers. Lack of information on their family histories also makes it hard to foresee their latent diseases. Accordingly, the examination is required all the more.” Play therapist Hye-gyeong Park explains that early involvement in treatment for babies and infants is necessary. “Early childhood is a critical period when children’s bodies, heads, and emotions develop. If early involvement in their treatment is not practiced, their intrinsic problems can worsen or some other problems can emerge to heighten the possibility of meeting with difficulties.”

Developmental examination and treatment support given to little children left in the dead zone of welfare

Babies and infants in need of protection, however, are left in the dead zone of welfare. Mr. Gi-jun Lee, a social worker in Sharing Service Department of Social Welfare Society, Inc., indicates that state support systems are inadequate. “It costs average 200,000 to 300,000 won to take a developmental test and average 50,000 won to go through play therapy once. The aggregate can be quite big as examination and treatment should continue. Support is available for part of the costs if a child is diagnosed with disorder. But there is difficulties in diagnosing disorder if a suspected child is under three. As a consequence, available support is limited. What’s more, the children whose adoption were asked for should bear bigger

economic burdens because no child-care benefit is allowed.” In January, 2018, Social Welfare Society, Inc. opened Dodam-dodam Little Children’s Play Therapy Room for the sake of babies and infants requiring medical support. During last year, developmental examination was provided to 167 children 326 times and personalized treatment was given to 26 children with symptoms discovered 1,144 times. 17 children with developmental retardation detected went through play therapy 748 times and 9 children with suspected disorders were given special treatment 396 times in connection with outside medical institutions.

“Treatment programs and beneficial children will be expanded.”

Hye-jeong who used to suffer delayed language and sociality development reached the level of normal development after getting play therapy and was in shape when she met her adoptive family. After Min-seok with intellectual disability underwent special treatment in connection with a outside medical institution, his self-expression ability improved. Social Welfare Society, Inc. plans on expanding the operation of Dodamdodam Little Children’s Play Therapy Room so that more babies and infants can have benefits. To start with, we are now making ready for the opening of Dodam-dodam Little Children’s Play Therapy Room in the Gyeonggi area. At the same time, we take the lead in organizing visiting medical teams consisting of doctors, nurses, and therapists. Manager of Sharing Service Department Won-pyo Hong said, “The support targets of Dodam-dodam Little Children’s Play Therapy Room are presently limited to the babies and infants in the care of Social Welfare Society, Inc., but we are planning to expand the targets into the local communities.” He added, “By hiring specialist workers, we will provide the service of calling on babies and infants having difficulties in visiting a therapy room and conduct a variety of additional programs including language therapy and art therapy as well as play therapy.” We wish that all children would get proper treatment at the right time making good use of Dodam-dodam Little Children’s Play Therapy Room and grow into healthy members of society.

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