Making connections with neurodivergent children through play (2-part series)


This series is suitable for all educators currently working in an approved education and care setting across Australia. This is a foundation course that focuses on essential knowledge to guide children’s behaviour and may be suitable for educators who are new to the sector or embarking on a formal early childhood qualification.

Learners will have the opportunity to discover the meaning of neurodiversity, and make connections through play-based learning. You will explore the brain and its functions, and learn how neurodiverse children see and engage in play differently. Having an understanding of how neurodiverse children’s brains work, will ultimately support educators to develop safe, secure and trusting relationships with children through play.

Educators who are able to support play with children will promote individual learning and development, and enhance children’s understanding of the world around them.

Duration: 40 minutes

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About the author:

Jo Grimmond has worked in early childhood education and care for 30 years as a teacher, director, lecturer, trainer, and community engagement coordinator. She is also certified in the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) and uses this experience and expertise to support educators in their work with children with Autism. Her current role is as an E-learning Content Officer in the professional learning team at Early Childhood Australia.

With a great passion for early childhood mathematics, Jo’s current PhD research focus is the development of a play-based numeracy assessment tool for educators to use with children using blocks. She is a dedicated and passionate advocate for the early childhood sector, particularly in the area of workforce development and quality improvement, with her area of expertise being emergent mathematics, play-based learning and intentional pedagogy and practice.

Learning Outcomes

In part 1 of this series, you will:

  • develop an understanding of neurodiversity, neurodiverse children and how they interact with their environment
  • explore the importance of play in developing relationships with children
  • discover how to be a positive play partner and build relationships through play.

In part 2 of this series, you will:

  • discover how to respond to children in play
  • develop an understanding of how to build play skills
  • explore the importance of developing trusting relationships to support families.

Additional information

Course Duration

40 minutes

Links to the National Quality Standard

Australian Professional Standards for Teachers

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Australian Qualifications Framework

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