Supporting the Development of Children’s Regulation through Play


This webinar will discuss how to build children’s self-regulation skills through play.


Presented by: Emily Lesher, MS, CCC-SLP and Lauren Mangold, MS, CCC-SLP
originally recorded April 25, 2019

Webinars are video presentations and include the recorded PowerPoint and lecture and a .pdf copy of the PowerPoint notes.

Description: In the early years of life, the development of self-regulation skills, play skills, interpersonal social skills, and cognitive-linguistic development should be understood to be neurologically interdependent processes.  Effective interventions to support children’s development in any one of these domains by necessity must address all of them, and must “support children to mobilize the strategies they learn during intervention for use in real life”. Playing challenges children to build their capacity for regulation in the context of safe social engagement.

It is critical for specialists such as occupational therapists and speech language pathologists to think outside of their own “domain-specific” skills in order to support global development appropriately. We use a well-loved developmental stage framework for play skills, The Westby Play Scale devised by Carol Westby, PhD CCC-SLP, and apply knowledge from the occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, trauma-informed care, and child mental health fields. We propose a model for building self-regulation skills through responsive scaffolding of play in young children based on their play level. This model is inclusive of individual differences in child development by considering the underlying skills and competencies at each stage, and provides adult partners specific strategies to support play and self-regulation development.

Learning Objectives
By the end of this webinar viewers will be able to:

  1. Understand relevant concepts in the development of regulation and play.
  2. Identify children’s level of play skill development and how this corresponds to their regulatory development.
  3. Understand the adult-level factors which constitute being a “responsive partner” within the different levels of play skill development.

Course Level: Intermediate. There are no prerequisites for this course.

Suitable For: Occupational therapists, OT assistants, speech and language pathologists, mental health providers

Domain: Performance Skills
Process: Intervention

Contact Hours: This course is worth 1.5 contact hour or .15 AOTA CEUs.

Completion Requirements: To receive contact hours for this course you must listen to the recorded webinar in its entirety and complete the accompanying assessment.

About the Speakers: Emily is the Speech-Language Pathology Coordinator at OTA the Koomar Center.  Emily is a certified and licensed Speech-Language Pathologist.  She received her Masters of Science degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Ithaca College. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Nazareth College in Rochester, NY.  She has experience working with children  with a broad range of diagnoses and abilities in school-based, clinic-based, and early intervention settings.  She is certified in Story Grammar Marker (R) and the Hanen (C) Programs: It Takes Two to Talk (R) , More than Words (R) , and Talk Ability (R).  She also has clinical training in the Social Thinking (R) curriculum.

Lauren is a licensed and certified Speech-Language Pathologist practicing at OTA the Koomar Center.  She grew up in Colorado and studied Speech Language and Hearing Science as well as Psychology at CU Boulder before moving to Boston to earn her Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Northeastern University.   Lauren has completed clinical training in the use of developmental approaches to support children cognitive , language, and emotional capacities through Hanen (C) Centre programs, certification in DIR/Floor-time, and additional graduate level courses in both social-emotional and social-cognitive development of children.  She strives to help every child develop core feelings of control and belonging using the guiding principle that playing is learning. 

ADA/Section 504: If you require special accommodations, please contact the Spiral Foundation at or (617) 969 – 4410 ext. 231.

Continuing Education:

Occupational Therapy Practitioners/ Occupational Therapy Assistants:  The Spiral Foundation is an Approved Provider of Continuing Education for occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants by the American Occupational Therapy Association.  The assignment of AOTA CEUs does not imply endorsement of specific course content, products, or clinical procedures by AOTA.



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