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What Play Therapy does for children with Autism

Updated: Oct 3, 2023


Autism is a complex developmental disorder that affects communication, social interaction, and behavior. Children with autism often struggle with social skills, communication, and sensory processing, which can impact their ability to engage with others and learn new skills. Play therapy is a type of therapy that can be particularly helpful for children with autism, as it allows them to engage in a comfortable and familiar activity while also providing opportunities for learning and growth.


What is Autism?


Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects communication, social interaction, and behavior. Autism is a spectrum disorder, which means that it can manifest in different ways and to varying degrees of severity. Some common characteristics of autism include:

  • Difficulty with social interaction and communication

  • Difficulty with nonverbal communication, such as eye contact and facial expressions

  • Repetitive behaviors or routines

  • Sensory sensitivities or difficulties processing sensory information

  • Intense interest in specific topics or activities

Autism can be diagnosed as early as age 2, and early intervention is critical for helping children with autism develop the skills they need to thrive.


How can Play Therapy help Children with Autism?


Play therapy is a type of therapy that uses play as a way to help children express themselves and work through their challenges. For children with autism, play therapy can be particularly effective for several reasons:


1. Play is a natural and comfortable activity for children with autism.


Many children with autism struggle with social interaction and communication, which can make traditional forms of therapy feel intimidating or overwhelming. Play therapy, on the other hand, allows children to engage in a comfortable and familiar activity while still receiving therapeutic support.


2. Play therapy can help children with autism develop social skills and communication.


Play therapy provides opportunities for children with autism to practice social skills and communication in a safe and structured environment. Through play, children can learn to engage with others, take turns, and express their feelings and needs.


3. Play therapy can help children with autism regulate their sensory processing.


Many children with autism struggle with sensory processing, which can make everyday activities feel overwhelming or uncomfortable. Play therapy can help children learn to regulate their sensory processing through activities such as sensory bins or gross motor play.


4. Play therapy can help children with autism develop flexibility and problem-solving skills.


Children with autism often struggle with rigid thinking and difficulty adapting to changes in routines or expectations. Play therapy can help children develop flexibility and problem-solving skills by providing opportunities to practice new or different play scenarios.


Overall, play therapy can be a powerful tool for helping children with autism develop the skills they need to thrive. By providing a comfortable and familiar environment for therapeutic support, play therapy can help children with autism build social skills, communication, sensory processing, and problem-solving skills. If you think that play therapy might be helpful for your child with autism, get in touch with us and speak to our qualified therapist who can help you explore your options.


Do you think your Teen or Child could benefit from therapy? Speak to a qualified Play therapist to learn how your Teen or Child could benefit from play therapy, Click here to get in touch today, or if you want to know if Play Therapy could be suitable for your Teen or Child, click here to take our quiz!




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