AutPlay® Therapy is an integrative family play therapy approach created by Dr Robert Jason Grant designed to help address the mental health needs of autistic children and children with other neurodevelopmental difficulties (ages 3-18). Having worked with autistic adults and young people early on in my career, I was interested that in my work as a play therapist in mainstream schools, I was frequently having children referred to me who had an ASD diagnosis. Play therapy is often a perfect approach, but sometimes work involving the family in a more directive and integrative way is more appropriate. This is when I came across AutPlay Therapy.
Using play therapy, behavioural techniques and relationship development methods, the therapist works with the child and their family to help develop social skills, emotional regulation and to increase connection. The use of play allows the therapist to form a positive and trusting relationship with the child and to practise skills and relationship building techniques in an accessible and fun manner. Parents and children are considered co-change agents in the therapy process and work as partners with the therapist.
The AutPlay Therapy process begins with an in-depth collaborative assessment phase designed to value the individual child and highlight their strengths as well as guide areas of intervention, and approaches for addressing the needs of the child and family. The child and parent will get to know the therapist in the play room by playing together and the main focus of the therapy will be decided once a clear picture has emerged of the needs and qualities of the child and family.
The therapeutic powers of play are utilised to address a variety of common needs including emotional regulation ability, social navigation needs, engagement/connection growth, anxiety and fear reduction, sensory challenges, executive functioning struggles, depression and self esteem issues, trauma issues, stigmatisation, and parent/child relationship growth.
The parent learns to use the play methods at home with their child, to enhance and support the goals and meet the needs of their child. Regular contact between the parent and therapist allows for the therapy to be a dynamic and supportive process for families who often find their needs go unheard and often feel isolated in the struggles they face.
Referrals are welcome from parents or from professionals and therapy can be undertaken in our private clinic shared with Hands On Play Therapy.