Play therapy has been used to work with a wide variety of students that have behavioral concerns. Therapists utilize this strategy to get to know children, gain trust, and assist them. A much more specific type of game play is being highlighted with the use of chess. The strategies used within learning this game help many individuals to improve their behavior.
The Rationale Behind Chess and Role of the Therapist
Playing chess requires understanding a lot of different rules. These include not only rules pertaining to strategy, but the unwritten social ones as well. Chess requires players to think carefully through their next move. An impulsive move could create havoc for their game. You must plan ahead and problem solve as you wait to see what your opponent will do next. The multitude of different skills that a game of chess calls on helps kids to work on executive function concerns as well as social skills.
Chess therapy not only works on homing in on cognitive skills, it works on decreasing impulsive responses. Children learn to pace themselves because moving too quickly during a game of chess can result in a quick game that does not challenge them. Chess also works on behavior management while waiting to take turns. While your opponent is developing a plan for their next move, you must be able to sit quietly. Like other games, chess also gives time for individuals to learn how to be modest when they win and lose graciously.
As chess is used within therapy sessions, lots of encouragement is given as they are redirected during the process. It is possible to help students to increase their levels of focus and concentrations. At the same time, they begin to shift their energy and emotional responses in a positive direction. Therapists help those in chess therapy to learn patience in completing additional tasks. In addition to this, they are able to see improvement in coping skills in regard to losing, dealing with peers, and disappointment.
Implementing Chess Therapy Within Your School
Chess therapy could be implemented within afterschool clubs. Therapists within the school could work with the club leader to encourage additional children to join. Time could be spent during sessions during the school day to work up to joining the club and being an active participant. The combined effort helps to encourage children to be more social and work on skills that are important to them and can be changed some for their academic life and beyond.
I love how you talk about the importance of routine and how it can help kids with ADHD focus on school work. My nephew just recently got diagnosed with ADHD and my sister is worried he’ll struggle in school. She’s been looking into helping him cope through therapy with a professional who can help him understand why his brain works differently.