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The Play Project – A New Approach to Early Autism Intervention
When your child is first diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, your world feels like a blur. With all these recommended first steps, new emotions, balancing acts with insurances and finances, its hard to know which way is up! ABA is one of the first therapies suggested, but it is expensive, and the wait lists are extremely long. What if I told you there is a new approach to early intervention for autism that works, is fun, engaging for the parents as well as child, and affordable? Well guess what, there is! It’s called the Play Project!
The PLAY Project Back Story
Dr. Rick Solomon has been working with autistic children for over 25 years now. As a developmental and behavioral pediatrician, he has dedicated is life to early intervention for children with autism. From 1990-2000, he worked in Pittsburgh where the Medicaid laws truly benefited autistic children. Any child diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, no matter parental income, could receive as much intervention as a doctor ordered completely free! Dr. Solomon was able to order 20-40 hours a week for families with just a stroke of his pen!
Well as many of you may already have found out, that is not the case most anywhere else! Dr. Rick learned this too when he moved back to Michigan. He learned that not only did most states not cover early intervention, that there were very few intensive and comprehensive therapies available at all! Though laws have changed to include ABA in insurance, the access is still extremely limited. Knowing from first hand experience with my niece, the wait list here is around 1-2 years!
In desperation to get access to early intervention to autistic children, Dr Rick decided to bypass the lack of public services and take the services straight to the families. PLAY Project was redesigned into a home consultation program, where the PARENTS are taught by professionals to provide intensive services for their children.
Making PLAY the Real Intervention
Do you know that even a single parent spends 45 waking hours a week with their child? So, imagine spending 25 hours of that time, playing with your child and that being the intervention your autistic child needs to thrive?
Well that is EXACTLY what the PLAY Project does. As a parent implemented model, you are getting to spend quality time with your child and make the difference the need in those crucial early years!
ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) is a very intensive, 40 hour a week therapy. It is real work, and hard work. While this therapy can make huge differences, kids are still kids. They want to play and are more willing to learn when it’s taught through play. The great thing about the PLAY Project is that is can be used with ABA or as a standalone therapy.
How does the PLAY Project Work?
It’s all about how you play and interact with your child. In the PLAY Project, you follow your child’s lead. So often, autistic children stay in their own world without anyone trying to come into it. We are often taught through so many therapies that we must bring them into our world to help them. Instead of starting out by trying to bring them into your world, you learn how to step into theirs first.
With the help of your PLAY Project consultant, you will learn everything you need to help your child with autism. They come into your home just once a month, to give real feedback on what you can change and what you are doing right.
The key to how successful this early intervention is, is that it uses the relationship between parent and child to promote engagement. The best part is, that it truly builds the relationship between you and your child.
To find a Play Project Consultant near you, or access the online learning for parents, check out https://www.playproject.org/locations/
Talking with Dr. Rick Solomon of The PLAY Project
I had the distinct pleasure of speaking with Dr. Rick Solomon about the PLAY Project and Autism Spectrum Disorder as whole. The man is a true genius and has such a huge heart. This isn’t a project that he is making money from, but rather a heart’s mission.
Much like myself, Dr. Rick has spent a majority of his life working with and dedicating his life to those with Autism. He has seen firsthand the impact early intervention makes on children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. By creating the PLAY Project, he has truly made an impact on the lives of children now and so many to come.
Though you may not have the direct chance to speak with this amazing man, he has put out a book that is a true labor of love. I have read through Autism: The Potential Within, and it is a life changing book for parents of autistic children.
Autism: The Potential Within
Through out the book, Dr. Rick gives you professional advice with the highest personal standard: what he would do for his child if he or she had autism. The book summarizes the visits with the Grant Family (a composite of many families) from diagnosis through kindergarten. Every chapter is an office visit and pulls at your heart in ways you couldn’t imagine. He really connects with his patients (and you!) through each visit with real world feelings and concerns.
Dr Rick goes through what to do first after a diagnosis, the PLAY Project Approach, and daily hassles. At the end of every “visit,” he summarizes the key take away points as well as resources & websites for you to check out.
It is a must read for every parent whose child has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
You can get your copies here:
The PLAY Project: Autism Early Intervention
When giving information, I do my best to be unbiased. That being said, the PLAY Project is going to be the game changer for so many families with autistic children. To check out more, please head over to PlayProject.org to learn more about this amazing and affordable resource for children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.