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The Importance of Autistic-Led Play-Based Therapy.

Updated: Nov 17, 2023

"Play therapy allows children to express, regulate, communicate, practice and master new skills as well as their emotional responses." Australian Psychological Society

At TEC, our primary goal is to create an environment where your child feels safe and regulated so they are best able to engage and connect; this is why we work with a neuro-affirming approach to child-led, play-based therapy.

If you're new to child-led, play-based therapy, we'd love to share the reasons why we've chosen this approach as the foundation of our work.

First and foremost, we know neurodivergent children (and adults!) feel safe when they have autonomy in a new situation and of course, being an interest-driven neurotype they need to be interested and excited about what they are learning to engage.

This is why a child-led approach is most effective (and fun!).

At TEC, the children get to choose activities and topics of interest which gives them a level of autonomy and an exciting reason to engage and connect as the sessions are guided by the child.

The positive relationship that develops between therapist and child during play therapy sessions can provide a corrective emotional experience necessary for healing. (Moustakas, 1997)

Using your child's interests, our team will use their wealth of skills and experience to create fun, engaging sessions where your child will work towards their goals through a series is specifically designed activities and games to meet their interests.

In our Therapeutic-play-based sessions, you'll see staff and children simply playing, painting and engaging in interest-based activities while simultaneously using evidence-based therapeutic practices based on neuroscience.

Knowing that play is the language of the child, the therapeutic benefits of play stretch far beyond creating an engaging session and building a connection between child and therapist.

Play-based therapy has been the subject of many studies that support the benefits and outcomes produced and what we’ve learned as a neuroscience and academic community through evidence-based research, is that Autistic children can struggle to process and absorb information when their nervous system is heightened and they are dysregulated.

Play is the child's natural way of regulating as it's self-driven, active and joyful. A child when feeling safe and emotionally regulated, is able to absorb and process information and new experiences.

Therapeutic Benefits of Play Can Include;

  • Assisting children with expressing, understanding and processing their emotions.

  • Building communication pathways and methods of self-expression, including verbal and non-verbal expressions.

  • Reducing anxiety and stress.

  • Learning skills to develop and maintain healthy relationships whilst being their authentic selves.

  • Enhancing skills to identify body cues and implement self-regulation techniques.

  • Develop and learn new neuro-affirming skills to problem solve and make decisions.

"Play-based therapy can allow children to express complex emotions and thoughts using non-verbal and universal means of expression."


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