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Respite Moments: Connecting Through Games

Citizens Respite celebrates Jeanine Bonfiglio’s birthdayLittle moments can make for big change! While playing games can seem like just a fun activity, play is central to the development of fundamental social, emotional, and physical skills. Playing games also brings people supported at Saturday Respite out of their shell and past their comfort zone. Saturday respite is led by Chantal Joseph, Respite Supervisor of the Respite Program.

People with I/DDs, like autism spectrum disorder, often have difficulty interacting with the world around them. Some people who attend Saturday Respite do not have a strong urge to connect with others.

But over time, the Saturday Respite crew have tried lots of activities and many have discovered new favorites like Jenga, Connect Four, basketball, and trivia. The small group, of usually six to eight people, have gotten close over the years and celebrate each other when they can (pictured above for Jeanine Bonfiglio’s birthday).

Being able to decide between activities creates more autonomy and self-discovery. Having choice is a huge aspect of independence and identity. Playing games teaches skills like communication and emotional connection, the ability to regulate emotions, and building patience and tolerance.

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