Helping Special Kids through a Special Kind of Play: AutPlay® Therapy

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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.

About Mariea Monday-Richardson, LMFT, CP, CCTP

Choose to have an amazing life! Life has a way of sneaking up on us. We get busy. We get in a routine. We function on autopilot much of the time. Fear and anxiety, trauma, transition, loss and addiction can put us on a path that takes us further and further away from our true selves. Until one day, we wake up and realize we are not where we wanted to be. Are you ready to take the path back to YOU? If so, I am ready to guide you. As a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), I work with couples, families, individuals, and children of all ages to tackle a variety of problems. My services cover a wide range of individual psychological issues such as anxiety, depression and substance abuse; relational issues including marriage, child-parent relationships, and family issues; child neurodevelopmental disorders such as ADHD and attachment disorders; and recovery from trauma, including childhood trauma, physical and emotional abuse, and grief. I am pleased to offer Rapid Resolution Therapy® (RRT)*, a breakthrough treatment developed by Dr. Jon Connelly for overcoming trauma. RRT offers fast, long-lasting results. Unlike some traditional therapies, RRT does not require the client to re-experience the traumatic events, yet it allows him or her to resolve the pain of the trauma quickly and completely, often in just one session. RRT is used successfully to treat PTSD, sexual trauma, childhood abuse, anxiety, lack of sexual desire, sexual addiction, anger, fears and phobias, and nightmares and insomnia. I am a Certified Practitioner (CP) of Rapid Resolution Therapy and a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional (CCTP). Change is rarely easy and often scary, but it is possible! You don't have to stay stuck or settle for an unworkable life. If you are ready to take-on the effort of growth and healing, let's move forward together. *Rapid Resolution Therapy® and Rapid Trauma Resolution® were founded and developed by, and are both trademarks of, Dr. Jon Connelly and are used under license. For more information, visit www.rapidresolutiontherapy.com.
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