The P.L.A.Y. Project (Play and Language for Autistic Youngsters) teaches parents of young children with autism how to play with and relate to their child in a way that helps the child progress more rapidly through the normal developmental stages of early childhood. With the P.L.A.Y. Project, children acquire social skills and other key abilities that enable them to be more successful throughout their lives.
The P.L.A.Y. Project is unique in that it provides training for the parents of children with autism so they can implement therapy at home. Easter Seals has home consultants who implement the PLAY Project, teaching parents how to initiate therapy in the home setting. A child with autism needs 20-30 hours per week of therapy to learn and grow as quickly as possible. This project is highly cost effective for families and enables the child to receive a continuum of service throughout their day.
The P.L.A.Y. Project was founded by Dr. Rick Solomon, who has diagnosed and treated children with autism for over 15 years. Dr. Solomon’s initial study of 70 children with autism demonstrated that 65% of the children in the P.L.A.Y Project made good to excellent progress. Dr. Solomon’s study was accepted for publication in the Journal of Autism and received a National Institute of Health grant.
The P.L.A.Y. Project focuses on the following goals:
Improving parent/child relationships
Improving behavior of the child reducing stress within the home
Including siblings in coaching and training
Creating strong families including improved spousal relationships
Improving child development so children are ready for school
Improving systems for families so services are integrated, accessible, culturally appropriate and of high quality