PLAY Project - New Treatment for ASD Children


The PLAY Project was launched on May 7th, with a lecture given by Ms. Ashley Case, MS, OTR/L, Play Project Training Director from Ann Arbor Michigan. The lecture, attended by parents, educators and health care givers, was held on May 7th, at the Faculty of Medicine of the Bar-Ilan University.

The staff of Ziv's Spingold  Child Development Center are the first therapists in Israel to be trained in the PLAY Project.  In its first stage, the project will include 24 families, 12 Jewish families and 12 families from the Arab sector. Therapy is offered in Hebrew or Arabic, using the language the family speaks at home.

The PLAY Project (Play and Language for Autistic Youngsters) was created by pediatrician Dr. Rick Solomon, of Ann Arbor Michigan. The Project is a practical application of the DIR / Floortime model of internationally respected autism experts, Stanley Greenspan MD, child psychiatrist, and Serena Wieder, Ph.D, psychologist and has received over 1.6 million US$  in grants from the US National Institutes of Health to test its effectiveness. 

The Project has been piloted with thousands of families all over the world, and is currently offered by more than 100 agencies, schools and hospitals located in 24 states and 4 countries outside of the U.S. Experienced professional therapists, with degrees in child development or paramedical fields (for example Speech, Occupational Therapy, Physio Therapy, Psychology, Social Work, or Special Education) receive intensive training by PLAY Project supervisors, before working with families. Following this training, therapists typically give one 3-hour treatment session each month, teaching parents (or other family members) how to provide intensive, one-on-one, play-based treatments to their young children with autism. 
Dr. Ilene Lee, Head of the Project at the Ziv Medical Center, explained that within the framework of the project, parents will receive training from experienced care givers from the field of autism and communication disorders. They will be taught how to use game techniques in the course of daily activities, making interaction between child and parents a learning and developmental experience for the child. Meals, play in and out of the home, shower and bed-time, can all be used to assist the child to develop social and communication skills and build meaningful relationships. The therapeutic staff provides individual advice to each of the families based on the child's personal development. 

The rationale behind the project is based on the fact that parents spend more time with their children than all of their teachers and therapists combined. By training parents to be their child’s best play partner, the child receives more hours of high quality intervention.