Children’s Play During the Pandemic: Therapeutic Aspects, Equity and Access

Wednesday, June 9, 2021, 6:30p.m. EDT

This panel discussion will focus on the work of three professionals who use play in their clinical work with children. Cindy Puccio, PhD, Marie Reynolds, MA, MSW, and Kimberly Wilkinson, PhD, OTR/L, will share with us how the pandemic and the transition to virtual learning and telehealth have impacted children and their own work. 



Cindy Puccio

Cindy will discuss the effects of the pandemic on child/teen mental health as it relates to her clinical practice. She will talk about the telehealth psychotherapy she has been doing this year with children, reflecting on the challenges and advantages.

Cindy Puccio is a Developmental Psychologist and Clinical Social Worker. She has a wide range of professional experience including individual, family and group therapy for children and families, school counseling, child-centered play therapy, and educational remediation. Cindy also specializes in therapeutic work with children who are on the Autism spectrum and she has studied, practiced, and taught Dr. Stanley Greenspan’s DIR/Floortime® method for over 25 years. She currently teaches expert level training courses in this method to graduate students who are pursuing their certification through The Interdisciplinary Council on Development and Learning. She also currently serves as a clinical consultant for ICDL. Her other passion and area of expertise is in child centered play therapy and Cindy has been teaching seminars in this method at Sarah Lawrence College for twenty years. She is also a faculty member of the Sarah Lawrence College Child Development Graduate Program and of Fielding Graduate University in their Infant and Early Childhood Development doctoral program. Cindy sits on the advisory board of The Meeting House, a non-profit afterschool community program in Manhattan. After completing her B.A in Literature from Middlebury College, Cindy earned her Master’s degree in Child Development from Sarah Lawrence College, her M.S.W. from New York University, and her Ph.D. in Infant and Early Childhood Development. 

Marie Reynolds

Marie will talk about her experiences of doing tele-play therapy with young children over the course of this past year, and therefore the need to involve the parent(s) using filial play therapy. She will address the challenge of many Jamaican parents' lack of play experience, i.e. not being accustomed to pretend play or reflection, and how this situation provided the opportunity in her clinical work for strengthening the parent-child relationship while addressing the presenting concerns.

Marie Reynolds is a Clinical Social Worker and Pediatric Psychotherapist. She is the Elementary and Middle School Counselor at the American International School of Kingston, as well as in private practice at Caribbean Tots to Teens, a multidisciplinary allied health centre for child and adolescent health and wellness in Jamaica, where she uses play, sandtray and other expressive therapies to address children’s emotional, behavioral, developmental and family concerns. She also uses filial play therapy to strengthen attachment and parent-child interaction. In her dedication to increasing children’s access to play and play therapy, Marie co-developed and delivered a graduate course in play therapy at the Mico University College, and has conducted a range of seminars and workshops for professionals and parents. She received her MSW from New York University, and also holds an MA in Interdisciplinary Studies (Counselling Psychology emphasis) from the Caribbean Graduate School of Theology.

Kimberly Wilkinson

Kim will speak about her participation in a free after-school loose parts play program provided through the Just Play organization and how this relates to issues of equity and access for underserved populations of children.

Kimberly Wilkinson, PhD, OTR/L is an assistant professor in the department of occupational therapy at Ithaca College. She has worked as a clinical pediatric occupational therapist for almost 20 years specializing in feeding intervention, sensory integration, and working with children with autism spectrum diagnoses. Dr. Wilkinson was a Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) Fellow at the University Center for Excellence in Development Disabilities (UCEDD) at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. She completed her doctoral training in Ayers Sensory Integration and Occupational Science through the University of Southern California where her dissertation research focused on the mealtime experiences of mothers of children with autism spectrum disorders and feeding challenges. During her graduate studies, Dr. Wilkinson served as a research assistant on a longitudinal, ethnographic study of health care disparities for African American families with a child with special health care needs. Her current research focuses on describing the play of children with and without special needs from an occupational therapy perspective including snow play, loose parts play, and the risky play of infants.