How Play Therapy Helps Manage Autism




Even horsing around and bouncing beds can have tremendous therapeutic gains for children diagnosed with autism spectrum. Add structure and some guidelines and transform it into a more proper play. You will have a great tool for creating and enhancing everything from coordination, motor, social, listening, and communication skills.

Play entails interacting with other kids and adults in a competitive and supportive manner, conveying needs, understanding the intent of others, creating strategies, and switching turns. All of these seem to be the most suitable exercise for a child trying to learn these skills – which is actually the entire concept of play therapy. What’s great about it is that it does not often require the supervision of a licensed therapist. It just needs a parent, brother or sister, friends, and significant others who work together and coordinate their efforts to gain the best out of home and playground play.

Non-Directive And Directive Play Therapy

Non-directive therapy is a more casual and unstructured form of play. The child with Autism Spectrum Disorder is given the freedom to guide himself with fewer restrictions and solve puzzles by himself.

Directive therapy, on the other hand, is simply the opposite. It’s more structured and guided, and the parents or the therapist encourages the child more frequently and straightforwardly and could make recommendations or attempt to navigate the session along.

Some play therapy techniques, such as floor time, often utilize both directive and non-directive methods. Sessions frequently start with little direction or none at all, permitting your ASD child to choose the first activity. Throughout the session, the parent or therapist might prompt him to select a plaything or communicate or suggest. This makes the therapy more directive.

Floor Time


One method of play therapy – often entails the child, parents, and therapist all interacting – playing – together.

Floortime therapy sessions have primary objectives that are created to achieve:

  • The ASD child dynamically interacts with his parent or therapist.
  • The child demonstrates that he understands the rules of the game. For example, he will properly pass the ball rather than putting it inside his mouth.
  • The child is aware of his own needs and wants in terms of the game being played.
  • Mutual communication is accomplished.
  • The child pacifies himself if he gets disappointed.
  • The child gestures to convey his needs and wants, which can be as basic as handing a toy to his therapist.

These objectives are attained in several ways during the entire session. Initially, the child is allowed to start the session. The therapist and parents also position themselves on the floor to play with the child. The floor should already have toys and games are prepared so that they can play together. These things can be placed before the session starts so that the child can select what he wants to play with.

Blowing bubbles is commonplace to begin. Almost all children also love moving toys – those that make sounds, light up, or vibrate. Consider pop-ups or robots. Things that actively engage and bring life to toys are always a bonus.

As the therapy progresses, the parents or therapist will hand new activities or toys to the child, maybe swapping or putting in playthings to make the session a little harder and more dynamic. For instance, a box can be introduced to the child as he is instructed to place blocks of different figures into the matching holes of the box. Previously, though, the child might have just been playing with the blocks alone.

Home Play Therapy

If you are a parent, you should know that you play a crucial role in your child’s therapy. You are not merely an active joiner during the play sessions, but you also have the choice to engage in play therapy in the comfort of your own living room. Numerous play therapists can work with parents on introducing play therapy strategies that are convenient to use at home. There are also several books and video programs that assist parents in making home play therapy possible.


The most crucial things to keep in mind when doing play therapy with your child at home include the following:

  • Be sure to provide comments on what your child does, even if he does not respond.
  • Always focus on what your child is doing.
  • Supplement small and simple actions. If you play with toy motorcycles and your child is driving them around, try making running motorcycle sound effects.
  • Do not forget that engaging in play therapy begins with baby steps. Do not push them too far, and always adjust to your child’s present level.

Play therapy can be a brilliant chance to interact with your ASD child and strengthen your relationship with him, as well as an opportunity for your child to develop valuable social skills continually.



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