If you never did you should. These things are fun and fun is good.
Dr. Seuse
It is in playing, and only in playing, that the individual child or adult is able to be creative and to use the whole personality, and it is only in being creative that the individual discovers the self.
D.W. Winnicott

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    The ability to create and sustain interactive relationships with others is a fundamental challenge that children on the autism spectrum experience. Play is a wonderful tool to help children move beyond autism’s social barriers into meaningful interactions.

    Play therapy with children on the autistic spectrum still assumes a child-centered approach. The principles remain the same, but the tools and techniques are adapted to meet the child where he or she is at. I follow the child’s natural emotional interests while challenging the child towards greater mastery of his or her social, emotional, and intellectual capacities.

    My clinical treatment is heavily influenced by Stanley Greenspan, MD, best known for the Floortime Approach.

    Greenspan states, ”The key to expanding children’s ability to be secure, calm, and regulated in the shared world is to meet them first at the level of their existing abilities and then gradually expand out from that base of security.”


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    Your child is paired with a developmentally compatible peer who has similar and/or complimentary treatment goals. Depending on the dynamics of the dyad, play skills may include:

    • Sharing and cooperation
    • Compromising and flexibility
    • Sportsmanship and fairness
    • Conversation and finding common interests
    • Sensory regulation
    • Conceptual processing
    • Frustration tolerance

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    Play therapy serves as an essential component to a treatment team approach. Often the goals and objectives in the playroom are consistent with those of other disciplines including occupational and physical therapy, speech, and other supportive services within the school setting. With your written consent, I initiate and maintain ongoing contact with other significant professionals involved in your child’s life, including the Child Study Team.


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    Because there is no specific medical test to identify autism, it is best to get a diagnosis from a physician or psychologist who specializes in developmental disabilities and has experience diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The diagnosis of ASD is made by taking into account the child’s complete medical and behavioral history, observing the child’s behavior, and ruling out other problems that may cause some of the same symptoms.

    The evaluation process can be a long and costly process that puts undue strain on a child. Before this process is undertaken, parents opt for the SCQ as a tool to make a more informed decision about whether or not to proceed with the evaluation process.

    I utilize a formal screening device known as The Social Communication Questionnaire (SCQ). The screening identifies individuals who are likely to be on the autism spectrum and for whom more extensive evaluations should be undertaken.

    In the event that the SCQ results indicate further testing, I will extend every effort to assist in the referral process. This may involve negotiating the school system within your town or possibly seeking out services through private insurance. In either case, a formal written report is provided*. The report is individualized based on the referral requirements, and include the following information:

    • SCQ results, including the sub-scores, parallel the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R): Qualitative Abnormalities in Communication; and Restrictive, Repetitive, and Stereotyped Patterns of Behavior. This information is pertinent to the referral for a more complete diagnostic workup.

    • Pertinent history

    • A summary of my direct clinical observations with your child in the therapeutic playroom over the course of the agreed upon number of sessions. The summary will include a description of your child’s use of the therapist and therapeutic space, emerging play themes, as well as engagement and intensity of play, both imaginative and imitative play.

    • Current assessment of child’s social, interpersonal, emotional, physical and cognitive functioning

    • Diagnostic Impressions

    • Treatment recommendations