Realising the 'right to play' in the special school playground

Doak, L. ORCID: 0000-0002-7934-5276, 2020. Realising the 'right to play' in the special school playground. International Journal of Play, 9 (4), pp. 414-438. ISSN 2159-4937

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In this paper I mobilise a multimodal ethnographic data fragment depicting a moment of play in a UK 'special school' playground to unpack the complexity and challenges of realising the 'right to play' (Article 31, UN Convention on the Rights of the Child) in a non-inclusive play space. I show that play (im)possibilities were delineated by the physical boundaries of the play environment, the absence of non-disabled peers and a lack of symbol-based resources to support playful meaning-making. Nevertheless, the children execute a short play event through non-verbal multimodal embodied communication which encompassed pleasure, frustration, invitations, rejections, acceptances, and negotiation over resource sharing. I argue that this brief play event instantiates broader debates around the Article 31 'right to play': specifically, to what extent this right can ever be realised in a non-inclusive playground, whether autistic children require play 'training' in order to exercise their right to play, and how diverse forms of play can be scaffolded by staff in the absence of non-disabled children.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: International Journal of Play
Creators: Doak, L.
Publisher: Taylor and Francis
Date: 2020
Volume: 9
Number: 4
ISSN: 2159-4937
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Institute of Education
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 01 Jun 2020 15:09
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2022 03:00

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