What is Play Therapy?
“Play is the work of children” according to Sigmund Freud. Play is how children learn social, emotional and life skills. Play therapy draws on various interactive theories and techniques to ease anxiety and stressors and improve behaviors. It is a safe, therapeutic relationship based on trust that allows a child to share and play out issues and find solutions.
Why Play Therapy works for children on the autism spectrum:
Play therapy incorporates techniques that treat all the categories of neurological issues associated with ASD. Social orienting, joint attention, emotional responsiveness, motor imitation, face processing, and communication are all improved through treatment. Play therapy is not a cookie cutter approach. So many theories and methodologies are included as to give the therapist many tools with which to design a treatment approach tailored to a specific child.
When is my child old enough for Play Therapy?
I see kids 18 months to 18 years old. The earlier we can help unwire negative responses and rewire adaptive ones, the better off we are. Older kids can still benefit, but the timeframe may be a little longer because the thoughts and behaviors are more ingrained. Those pesky “go to” reactions are more stubborn the longer they have been around.
What kind of outcomes are we aiming for with Play Therapy?
- Get along better with peers
- Be more successful at school
- Function better in the family
- Enjoy public events
- Tolerate going shopping
- Stopping the outbursts
- Reaching full potential
How do we accomplish this?
- Foster coping skills
- Instill adaptability
- Build frustration tolerance
- Teaching recognition of emotions of others
- Gaining self-responsibility
- Getting self-esteem through accomplishment
- Practicing social skills