As we know Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are one of the fastest growing developmental disorders in the world, with a prevalence rate of 1 out of 59 children. There is no cure for ASD, but some interventions can improve the quality of life of an autistic child. Some of them are ABA, Occupational therapy, Speech therapy, Relationship Development Intervention (RDI), Light therapy, Music Therapy & play therapy.
What is Play Therapy
Play therapy is a type of psychotherapy and can be useful in helping children through emotional and mental issues. Play therapy is a potential intervention for children with ASD because it addresses core issues of children with ASD such as social and relationship concerns.
They have difficulty relating to others, play may be an amazing tool for helping them.
Children generally utilize play to express themselves. Play therapy is generally used for children, but it can also be used for adults. It is useful for children aged between 3 and 12 years.
The primary aim of play therapy is to help children who are struggling to express themselves or their emotions through play.
A play therapist will teach a child through play in a free and safe atmosphere where they feel most comfortable expressing themselves. Play therapists utilize play activities a child will enjoy from painting to dancing or board games.
Sometimes play therapist will also include family members or parents and guardians in the playtime activities.
How play therapy works
Play therapy includes children engaging in play activities of their choice. The play therapist gives children with ASD them to express themselves in ways that are most convenient.
One type of play therapy is child-centered play therapy, which means the child– not the therapist will be the primary agent of change. Instead of the therapist leading therapy, children are guided by the pace, direction, and content of the therapeutic journey.
In play therapy, the therapist enters the world of the child and uses the relationship as an intervention, rather than guiding children to involve in specific behaviors that may conflict with their natural ways of being.
Many techniques are used during play therapy. The technique used during a therapy session generally depends on your child’s requirements and what play mediums they feel most comfortable using.
During a play therapy session, the therapist will develop a comfortable and safe environment for the child to play. The therapist will then observe the child’s interaction level with the toys that are given.
Benefits of play therapy
Following are some of the benefits of play therapy:
- Play therapy provides a way to communicate verbally to express themselves through play activities. For example, a child who refuses to speak might instead draw or paint out their thoughts or requirements.
- It creates a place where a child will feel comfortable.
- It allows the child to guide their therapy process. Effective play therapy permits the child to use their favorite toys and mediums.
- It helps children to understand their emotions if they had problems expressing them before.
- With play therapy, children have the opportunity to build trust with the therapist and feel comfortable. Once a child feels safe, he or she may be motivated to involve socially with the play therapist, finally generalizing his or her skills to home and school environments
- It helps children to develop their communication and social skills with time. After many sessions, a child who was not speaking might start to speak several phrases.
- Another benefit of play therapy is that parents can take an active role. Parents can be included in play therapy sessions and later on more of the play therapy sessions can be done at home. Therefore, play therapy will be a cost-effective intervention while also helping parents to develop a stronger relationship with their children.