AutPlay® is a unique therapy specifically for children with a neurodevelopmental disorder such as autism, Down syndrome or ADHD. AutPlay® combines the benefits of play therapy with behavioral therapy. Traditional play therapy is typically directed by the child. Games and creative play create a safe environment in which the child will naturally open up and talk about an issue. AutPlay® is directed by the therapist. Each session is carefully planned to tackle a particular skill or emotional need.
AutPlay® has two main goals for the children who participate:
1. Emotional regulation.
- develop skills to calm themselves when they are dysregulated
- develop the ability to recognize when they are upset (what that feeling is and how to cope with it)
- learn what to do when others around them are upset
- learn to understand their feelings and how to work through them
2. Social skills and emotional connection.
In addition, AutPlay® addresses relationship development and connection; anxiety reduction; sensory processing; concentration, focus and attention; behavior modification and parenting skills.
The process begins with an in depth screening to determine what the child does well and what he or she needs help with. AutPlay® works with kids regardless of their skill level, whether they are verbal or nonverbal, and wherever they are on the spectrum.
Typically the program includes a play therapy session with the child, and a session with the parent. The parent learns the same skills the child is learning, so they can work on deficits together at home. The parent also gains skills to connect with the child, and gets help with parenting or school issues.
Most often, the parent and child meet with the therapist separately. In this way, the child gets the full benefit of the session and the parent has an opportunity to discuss sensitive issues privately.
AutPlay® Therapy was developed by Dr. Robert Jason Grant, who now offers certification in this important technique. We are fortunate to have Amanda Knoll, MA, LPC and Level II AutPlay® provider in our practice.
“The mental health and disability worlds, two areas I am passionate about, don’t always mesh. AutPlay® does brings them together in an effective and powerful way,” says Amanda.
For more information on AutPlay® Therapy, contact Amanda here.