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Is Play Therapy Effective in Healing Autism?

Healing Autism with Play Therapy: Treatment or Recess?

Can we achieve success in healing autism with play based intervention therapy?

Play therapy is shown to effective in helping to help communicate traumatic experiences or certain confilcts that may be troubling a child. It has been used as therapeutic treatment for individuals with developmental challenges and autism. By observing and then confronting a childs individual expressions while engaging the senses in activities.

autism and play therapyWhile playing with a therapist these conflicts and traumas are naturally revealed. As they are exposed the theraptist will encourage the patient in a supportive environment. Developing a bond and opening up more communication.

There are those that espouse this form of therapy for autism spectrum disorders and others who feel better forms of therapy could be applied.

On the site of the American Mental Health Foundation, Dr. William Van Ornum, writes about how this form of therapy promotes bonding and the development in genuine relationships. Which is something autistics struggle with. Dr. Ornum notes that this is one of the most importand goals in helping children with autism. To get them to the point where they can experience real human relationships.

He was extremely guarded, withdrawn, and tactile defensive (not liking to touch objects in his environment). Three times each week we met in the play therapy room.

After several weeks he had not said a word and liked to play repetitively with an ambulance, cars, and a house. I was starting to wonder about the effectiveness of the entire endeavor and brought it up with my supervisor. “Just wait and listen and observe,” she said. After several months I discovered that one of his parents had died at home and had been taken by ambulance from his house. Soon he began to talk about this. And he began to talk about other things as well.

We read a great deal now about genes and autism; brain chemistry and autism; and we learn about the effectiveness of structured and direct therapies such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). The latter can be extremely effective, in that it amounts to a “re-engineering” of personality through positive reinforcements and interventions.

With many children a lighter tough may be needed, one that respects their need to reveal things on their own terms and an their own timeline. Gradually a genuine human relationship can emerge in play therapy–and isn’t this one of the mot important qualities we are trying to encourage in children along the autism spectrum disorder?

This information courtesy of The American Mental Health Foundation. Click to read more.

There seems to be no doubt that this form of therapy is helpful in bringing patients to a point where they can open up and begin to communicate.

The question is, does this really apply to the autistic child. Play therapy may be helpful in treating children who have suffered trauma or had some on going conflicts that may be disrupting their development, but are these the cause of autism? Can helping relieve post traumatic stress syndrome assist in treating and healing  autism?

We will be posting more in this soon, meantime tell us your thoughts healing autism with play therapy.

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