Blog is written by Jennifer Feliciano – Author of Where All The Pieces Fit – a Southwest Florida Autism Community Magazine.
PLAY THERAPY AND HOW IT CAN HELP CHILDREN ON THE SPECTRUM
As we all know children with ASD do not play in the same manner as typically developing children. Children with ASD often lack the ability for imaginative play. While some kids are playing house or cooking in their pretend kitchens, children on the spectrum are often spinning the wheels on their toy cars or lining up their Thomas the trains in a pattern only known to them. So, you ask if a child with ASD cannot engage in symbolic or functional play then how could play therapy be effective for them?
I will admit that I was skeptical too at first until my son finished the first year of sessions. I started noticing better eye contact, improved communication, and more typical play behavior. Since children on the spectrum will rarely naturally develop the ability to participate in functional play, play therapists are able to work with these children to help them develop their skills by providing a structured play environment. Play for children is the key to their entire world.
It involves interacting with others, which develops social skills. It involves sharing, communication, strategizing, and interpreting the intentions and feelings of others, all very important skills for children on the spectrum to develop.
To learn more about play therapy and its benefits you can visit the Association for Play Therapy or speak to
a local Play Therapist.
We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym for ALL Kids of ALL Abilities in Fort Myers is a great resource outside of private therapy facilities to help kids reach their highest potential. They are an indoor playground, sensory safe gym, that provides a safe, nurturing, and fun environment to foster learning, exploration and safe sensory experiences.