For children, play
is a mode of communication and a vehicle for working out ideas about social
roles, fears, and relationships.
Since one of the
hallmarks of Pervasive Developmental Disorders is circumscribed, repetitive,
non-imaginative play, traditional play therapy would seem to be an unlikely
treatment. However, some therapists still rely on it... usually with
predictably uneven results, or none at all. The book Dibs: In Search of Self (Ballantine, reissued 1990) by play therapy pioneer Virginia M. Axline has been
unfortunately influential. Widely read by psychology students, the book never
mentions that the child "Dibs" is obviously on the autistic spectrum.
Instead, the parents are blamed for his "emotional disturbance," and
his dedicated therapist must save him.
therapy may be worthwhile for working with non-verbal children who have had
life traumas in addition to PDDs, because to a well-trained therapist it can
provide clues and an avenue for communication. Unless it is incorporated into a
structured program, such as the floor-time program described previously, it is
unlikely to be useful in general.
Kingsley Publishers: Play Therapy Home Page
|Site: Texas Association For Play Therapy
Recommended Reading: "Reaching Children Through Play Therapy” by Carol Crowall Norton, Ed. D. and Byron E. Norton, Ed. D.
|Leaps and Bounds (Ontario)
5: November 21, 2001