Abstract and Keywords
In medical settings such as hospitals, play has become more common in recent decades, deployed to help children deal with treatment. Similarly, at specialized camps for ill children, peers are observed to actively, without adult suggestion, draw from imaginal ways of coping, ranging from irreverent song lyrics or skits, to wordless silly mockery of medical implements, to ghost stories about wheezing apparitions said to visit an asthma facility. At home, ongoing treatment of a condition also benefits from children coping through subjunctive pretense, as is suggested both by ethnographic studies and a small-scale experiment assessing a play enhanced asthma inhaler. Such uses of play can become routinized as a family ritual, and can serve as a way of making sense and sharing meaning in the midst of stressful experience. Resilience is a capacity that gains flexible, tensile strength from play, even in the face of exceptional suffering.
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