Young children facing behavioral and developmental disorders can learn a lot from play therapys. Things as small as coin rubbing and ice painting can have therapeutic effects on autistic children. 

According to one of the consultants working in the center providing ABA therapy services in Chicago, “autistic children can benefit from the fundamentals of play therapys when used side by side with the best ABA therapy approaches. Therapists can use this combination to build physical and social skills in children. Also, it allows them to connect with other kids of their age and forge relationships.”

So, what exactly is play therapys, and how can you use it in conjunction with ABA therapys to achieve better results? Let’s find out…

Play Therapy Explained

Play therapy was first introduced to provide support to young individuals struggling with depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders. 

But today, play therapy is exclusively used to provide support to children with autism. 

Play therapy involves different activities that serve as tools for building and improving skills in autistic children. 

A certified play therapist can use playtime to observe the child’s behavior. Based on this research, they can create plans to help children with autism learn new coping mechanisms.  

Types of Play Therapy

A trained play therapist can use directive or non-directive play therapy approaches to observe the child’s behavior. 

Non-directive play therapy uses a more unstructured approach. The child is often left to guide themselves and work through issues without someone’s help or intervention. 

The directive play therapy approach is more organized and guided. The parent or a therapist is there to assist the child at every step. 

Which is better?

Well, it depends. A therapist usually creates a treatment plan based on both these approaches. The non-directive therapy module helps children with autism get freedom and a chance to make their own choices. 

Directive play therapy, on the other hand, helps children to achieve better results under the supervision of their parents or therapist. 

Why Would a Child with Autism Need to See a Play Therapist?

The biggest challenge for autistic children is to maintain a social-communication balance. That’s exactly what they get to learn when their therapist uses play therapy approaches. 

Autistic children find it difficult to relate to others, including their siblings, classmates, and individuals living in their social circles. 

Play therapy enables them to relate to and engage with others through social interaction and sharing. 

Here are a few of the many benefits of using play therapy with your conventional ABA programs:

  • Make children more responsible
  • Reduces anxiety
  • Promotes self- respect
  • Teaches empathy for others
  • Help them express their thoughts and feelings
  • Builds social skills
  • Fosters family relationships

Not only this, but play therapy can also improve motor and language skills. While play therapy is powerful, it is not a replacement for any prescribed medications or treatments. A play therapist can use play therapy alone or alongside different other therapies to achieve better results.  

Play Therapy at Home

Can you engage your child with play therapy at home?

Yes, you surely can. What’s important for you to understand is that your role in your child’s therapy is significant. 

That is why many play therapists prefer to work closely with parents to provide services. They can guide you on play therapy techniques you can implement on your own living room carpets. 

Also, they will introduce you to several video and book programs to help you stay engrossed in what your child is doing. 

Here are a few important things to consider when engaging your child in play therapy at home:

  • Closely monitor your child’s activities
  • Start conversation from your end and comment on things they’re doing
  • Play with your child to help them feel safe and confident
  • Don’t force them to perform any specific action

Finding the Best Play Therapist for Your Child

Looking to find the best therapist for your child? Start your hunt by searching different listings online. You can check reviews on therapists’ websites or follow the recommendation of someone who had a personal experience with any therapist in the past. 

Instead of looking for a play therapist, in particular, try to search for an ABA or occupational therapist who also holds command over the play therapy approaches.

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