What is Play Therapy?
Play is the most natural thing all a child do. An autistic children engage in their own self involved play through which they express themselves and communicate with their world. For most kids playing becomes naturally and it is important part of child’s development. For children with autism like play with a toy or a game often have to be learned. Play therapy can draw autistic children out and give them a way to express themselves while learning important live skills. Play therapy leads to improvement in areas of language development, social skills, reduction of stereotypical behaviours or improve fine and gross motor skills.
Play Therapy for Autism Treatment
In autism treatment, play therapy helps the child to go beyond the self-absorption that is seen in a person with autism and into the realm of shared interaction. If used correctly, play therapy can be an effective tool in autism treatment by allowing children to explore their feelings, their physical environment and their relationships with the people around them.
Play therapy is a slow process which requires a lot of patience. The play skills of an autistic kid may never be completely normal but even small progress is something to celebrate!
Play therapy is also suitable or may be helpful in kids having developmental delay or learning disabilities, anxiety, depression, children facing challenging behaviours, Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Although people of all ages can benefit from play therapy, its typically used with children between the ages of 3 and 12.
Process of Play Therapy
Play therapy provides a safe and confidential place for children to work through their problems. While it may look like an ordinary playtime, play therapy can be much more than that. A trained therapist can use playtime to observe and gain insights into a child’s problems. Through play, children can learn new coping mechanisms and how to redirect inappropriate behaviours. The number of sessions that are needed depends on the child and how well they respond to this type of therapy.
Therapy can take place individually or in groups. Play therapy can be directive or nondirective.
In the directive approach, the therapist will take the lead by specifying the toys or games that’ll be used in the session. The therapist will guide the play with a specific goal in mind. The nondirective approach is less structured. The child is able to choose toys and games as they see fit. They are free to play in their own way with few instructions or interruptions. The therapist will observe closely and involve appropriately.
The therapist may use techniques that involve: creative visualization, storytelling, role-playing, toy phones, puppets, stuffed animals, and masks, dolls, action figures, arts and crafts, water and sand play, blocks and construction toys, dance and creative movement, musical play.
Play therapy is a method of therapy that uses play to uncover and deal with psychological issues. It can be used on its own, particularly with children, or along with other therapies and medications.