Play Therapy for Deaf Children  

What is Deaf-aware play therapy?  

This is play therapy offered by a trained Play Therapist who is aware and sensitive to Deaf cultural, social and psychological issues. The Play Therapist may be Deaf or hearing but has experience or training in Deaf awareness and is able to sign with SSE or BSL skills (BSL Level 2 is recommended but please check with the individual therapist). The Play Therapist will continue to improve their sign and Deaf awareness over time but will begin with a good understanding. A Deaf-aware Play Therapist may also have a basic understanding of the physical aspects of Deafness and hearing impairment.  

Some people are trained as Therapeutic Play practitioners which means that they are skilled to offer therapeutic play. Therapeutic Play practitioners sometimes go on to train as Play Therapists. Both Therapeutic Play practitioners and Play Therapists are happy to tell you about their qualifications, skills and experience as well as their level of signing and Deaf-awareness, so do ask.  

Whom is Deaf-aware play therapy for?  

"In the UK there are 34,000 Deaf children of whom 40% are estimated to suffer from a mental health problem at some point in their life" ( 

Please contact us if you feel that the child you are thinking about is struggling emotionally, socially, academically, at home or school and you are concerned, and they are either: 

  • Profoundly Deaf, either pre or post-lingually, with either hearing or Deaf parents.
  • Are deafened, hard of hearing, or have any hearing impairment.
  • Are BSL or SSE users.
  • Are predominantly oral.
  • Have a cochlear implant.
  • Are hearing children with BSL-using,
  • Deaf parents or sibling.

Deaf - aware play therapy can be offered to children in schools and organisations with the arrangement of the individual Play Therapist. Referrals can be made by the school, GP’s or social services.For more information a PowerPoint presentation Play Therapy for Parents, Schools & Organisation. Download as PDF or PowerPoint 2007.                                                                             

(note that appropriate viewers and/or software is required to view these files, always save a file before opening it)  

National database of PTUK Play Therapists with BSL skills: 

Play Therapy
BSL Skills
Helen Farthing
Berks, Bucks and Hamshire
Deaf Certified Play Therapist (2015), Qualified to use Theraplay principles, NDCS volunteer trained, Works in Deaf Schooles and Deaf CAMHS
BSL Level 3, Oral and Deaf CAMHS, 0765913022 (SMS only)
Sarah Clarke
Certified Play Therapist.
Qualified in BSL NVQ Level 4. 07736 279239 (SMS only)
Julie Barker
Post Graduate Certificate in Therapeutic Play (2009).
BSL Level 1 (2002) Deaf Awareness Certificate (2002) Worked with RNID.
Sue Childs
Certified Play Therapist
Reached BSL Level 2 (2008) Teacher of Deaf, experience as drama teacher with Deaf children. 07758217455
Becky Blackwell
Registered Trainee in Therapeutic Play Skills
Signature NVQ Level 6 Certificate in British Sign Language (2012)

More Information About PTUK