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Teaching Children with Autism via Play Therapy/Floortime/Greenspan method


Play therapy, or floortime, as some refer to it, is the type of therapy coined by Dr. Stanley Greenspan. The theory behind the concept is to enter the child ‘s world, play with the child on his or her terms, and slowly expand the base of play to include new ideas. Although there have been few studies on the efficacy of play therapy/ floortime, many parents have seen excellent results. For example, if a child is persevering or obsessing with cars and perhaps watching the wheels spin, the play therapy approach would be to get down on the floor with the child and begin by watching the wheels spin with him or her, then eventually d o other things with the car, such as drive it on the floor as a typical child would do. Slowly, over time, the child will learn to expand his or her repertoire of play, and will learn to interact with others. An excellent book on this subject, called “The Child with Special Needs,” by Dr. Stanley I. Greenspan, explains the concept in depth, or you can click on some of the links below.

AutismLink does not recommend one type of therapy over another. We can, however, tell you that what counts is the amount of time that the child spends ENGAGE D with other people. No matter which modality of treatment you choose, you will see your child make progress. There is considerable debate among parents and professionals as to which type of therapy is the “best” or the most effective. Choose what you feel is right for your child. Only you can make that decision. You can also choose more than one type of therapy and use a combination approach.

Staff SHOULD BE trained properly in the treatment modalities such as applied behavior analysis, verbal behavior, play therapy/floortime, RDI (Relationship Development Intervention), etc. Agencies are responsible for educating their professionals. Make sure that the therapist working with your child has been properly trained. To learn more about other modalities of treatment, click on the autism topics menu on the right.