Play Therapy and Autism

Play is an integral part of early childhood development which facilitates children’s social development and learning. Definitions of play emphasise that it is enjoyable, spontaneous, intrinsically motivating, and not directed by external goals. Play is a creative process which is person-centred, relationship-based, and often child led. The child-led nature of play-based therapies enables the child to take control of sessions whilst supported by the therapeutic alliance. This entry examines how and why play therapy is frequently used with children on the autism spectrum. Specific attention is given to four popular interventions: (1) the developmental, individual differences, and relationship-based model; (2) child-centred play therapy; (3) integrated play groups; and (4) Lego therapy.

The Importance of Play for Children on the Autism Spectrum

Play occurs naturally for most ...

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