Autplay® Therapy was developed as an intervention for children with Autism, though it is also appropriate for children with a range of other developmental concerns, including ADHD, Sensory Processing Difficulties and Learning Disabilities. Autplay® Therapy incorporates some of the Psychotherapy theories and techniques of Child-Centred Play Therapy, Filial Therapy, Systemic Family Therapy and Cognitive Behavioural Play Therapy.  It also includes other behavioural, communication and mindfulness skills such as role modelling, social narratives, social skill training, social stories, self-esteem activities, relaxation and visual supports.   Unlike Play Therapy, where the child leads the play and content of the session, Autplay® Therapy is a structured intervention; the session content is planned by the Therapist in advance, though there are opportunities within the activities for some child-directed play.  Autplay® Therapy is suitable for children aged 3-18 years old and can be effective for both mild to severe range of impairments.  


How Does  Help?

Autplay® Therapy helps by supporting children to develop skills in three primary target areas:


  • Emotional Regulation

(Includes: Identifying emotions, understanding and expressing emotions, emotion/situation recognition, recognising emotions in others, sharing emotional experiences and managing emotions)


  • Social Functioning

(Includes: Nonverbal communication skills - eye contact, facial expressions, gestures and body language; Verbal communication skills - back and forth conversations, initiating and responding to social overtures, recognising and using humour; Social etiquette - taking turns in games and conversations, appropriate situational behaviour and comments, public vs private behaviour)


  • Connection to others

(Includes: Parent/Carer and child bond, managing separations, understanding of/developing friendships and other relationships, joint attention, sharing interest with others, understanding and managing personal space, appropriate adult/child/peer relationships, stranger danger, relationship problem-solving)



Although these are the three primary target areas, it is not possible to work on these areas without addressing sensory processing, anxiety and challenging behaviour issues. These are called the secondary targets areas.  Research has indicted that by 

targeting these areas, the child experiences greater success in their everyday functioning, reduction in their distressing emotional and sensory symptoms and intense challenging behaviours become less frequent.  This can result in improved emotional well-being, healthier, safer relationship,  improved concentration and attention, better engagement in their school work and more willingness to develop social activities. 


Autplay® also helps parents/carers directly as it involves a training component for them, in person.  The significant persons in the child's life will be supported to develop a consistent way of interacting and playing with the child in order to build predictability and encourage success across multi-social environments.  Research has indicated this way of working increases parent/carer confidence in  their parenting skills.  

Want to Learn More about Autplay Therapy?

Di received training from the founder of the approach, Dr Robert J Grant.  Please visit his website,  www.autplaytherapy.com, for more informmation about this Therapy, including the latest research and developments.