Our children are growing up in a society where school shootings occur more frequently than ever before. It’s terrifying just to hear about it, let alone experience. It fuels anxiety, leaving parents, educators and students navigating ways to cope. One solution is to be prepared, creating lockdown drills to teach children what to do in this type of traumatic event. Sometimes these drills can create fear and misconceptions for children. Having a children’s book that explains a lockdown drill to children, can be beneficial.
As parents we want to protect our kids from pain, but sometimes it is out of our control. Depression is a really challenging emotion that is complex and difficult to understand, even for adults. I was excited to learn about a new children’s book, The Black Cloud Blues, that is providing validation and tools to help kids cope with depression. It is a great resources to be added to your home, school, or pediatric setting.
I always love to support others doing amazing work, so today you are in for a treat. I’m excited to introduce recreation therapist, Kim Shepard who is helping fellow clinicians spread the love of their work through Play Clothes.
Guest Blogger, Kim Shepard from Play Clothes
I am a recreation therapist and inclusive play practitioner who happens to also enjoy design and art. I have my Master’s in Recreation Therapy through the School of Public Health at Indiana University and a large part of my experience comes through working in the therapeutic camp setting as well as providing holistic care for clients, working alongside and in collaboration with other therapeutic health professionals and educators. I am very passionate about the importance of inclusion, in that it is essential to the health, well-being and progress of our society as a whole.
I currently work in the pediatric community setting at an inclusive play gym, where I am the operations manager. I also have a background working therapeutically with a wide-range of children and adults, including camp, community, and clinical settings and with clients with physical and developmental disabilities, mental health and behavioral health needs. I am also a type one diabetic, which has played a crucial impact in my life, helping me feel invested in and empowered in the Spoonie community. I was also diagnosed as a child and have very important memories of a child life specialist teaching me to give shots on a teddy bear named Rufus. My husband is a counselor who also has experience working with children with autism, and we are both passionate about the vital importance of mental health and disability acceptance and inclusion. Overall, I feel like my life is just filled and directed by the power of inclusion, play, and empathy, which have shaped me both personally and professionally.
The Launch of Play Clothes
Play Clothes is an independent design project of mine. It was started out of frustration at the fact that no one ever understood what I actually do for a living and the importance behind it. My first shirt design was on the definition of recreation therapy and thanks to the very positive response I received, things just blossomed from there. It lead to design shirts about other therapeutic fields, including child life, occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, pediatric nursing, art therapy, and much more.
Play, play-based learning, and inclusion are three of my biggest passions, and the therapeutic role of play—especially inclusive play—is my own personal soapbox that I could talk about for hours on end. Play Clothes gives me a way to speak out in visual design about those topics, and I have been so honored by the way that so many other healthcare, teaching, and therapeutic professionals have responded with excitement and enthusiasm.
All shirts are designed by me and then printed and distributed by bonfire.com, who I love supporting due to their utmost professionalism and friendliness, as well as the quality of their products and the sensory-friendly softness of their fabric. Currently I have too many designs out there to list, but you can find more at my Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. I am always open to ideas about other designs and offer designs for groups, clinics, schools, and more at no cost other than the price of the shirts. Shirts have to have at least five buys in order to be printed, but this hasn’t been a large problem so far, but it does mean that word-of-mouth and social media are incredibly beneficial for Play Clothes’ continued success!
Win a t-shirt design of your choice. Choose one or more ways to enter:
1. Sign up for email notifications at Child Life Mommy and leave a comment below
2. Facebook: Follow Child Life Mommy, tag a friend and leave a comment on the post
3. Facebook: Follow Play Clothes and leave a comment about the giveaway
Good Luck! Winner will be chosen 8/5/18. Shipped to residents in U.S. and Canada.