I am a speech pathologist with over 20years of experience. I am currently offering communication and behavior consultations in Houston and McAllen. I also am available for staff trainings and public speaking engagements on development, behavior especially related to autism spectrum disorders. In addition, I am affiliated with http://www.bridgingapps.org and am available to train educators, parents and consumers in using the iPad with people with special needs.
Contact us for more information!
Betsy Furler, MS, CCC-SLP
I am very fond of the PLAY Project Method and truly believe in the methods and techniques used through the PLAY Project. I, however, no longer offer PLAY Project services. Here is some information about the PLAY Project
This was posted at www.playproject.org and is a nice summary of The PLAY Project.
The Detroit News
by Kimberley Hayes Taylor
January 19, 2010
As her son Richard lies on the floor, Holly Carter plays patty-cake with his feet.
When the 4-year-old swiftly crawls across the floor, she’s right with him. He leaps up and darts across the room; Carter is by his side. Although it looks like she’s performing some sort of maniacal mirroring marathon, playing this intensely is not all for fun and games. Richard is autistic, and doesn’t speak.
Their activity is part of a three-year research study of the Play and Language for Autistic Youngsters (known as the P.L.A.Y. Project) home consulting model, a parent-training program that addresses the need for intense early intervention for young children with autism. Parents commit to playing with their child 20-25 hours a week with consulting from a play therapist. The goal of the project, supported with a $1.85 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health, is to see whether this type of intensive play can help children with autism come out of their shells.
In a nation where about one in 150 children are diagnosed with autism, such a program provides a glimmer of hope for parents who wish something could become different. Because it’s the fastest growing disability in the United States, too few people are trained to handle the intensive intervention recommended by the National Academy of Sciences. The P.L.A.Y. Project, the largest study of its kind, is designed to address the shortage by using a “train the trainer” approach, which is helping to rapidly spread the program around Michigan, the nation and the world.
While other therapies can cost as much as $60,000 a year, play therapy at $4,000 is much cheaper. Only about 150 children participate in the actual research study, but about 400 Michigan children receive play therapy as part of 15 play projects across the state, according to Dr. Richard Solomon, an Ann Arbor-based pediatrician and developmental and behavioral specialist who founded the P.L.A.Y. Project. Nationally, about 3,000 children are in therapy, and the technique already is being used in Australia and England.
Solomon says he hopes to see tens of thousands of children helped by this fast-spreading form of therapy.
“We’re training the parents to be sensitive and responsive to their child’s interest and this has been shown to be a very powerful way of helping children, especially with autism, to connect to their caregivers,” Solomon says. “Once the child is connected, their development gets engaged, and that’s what leads to improvement.”
Carter understands exactly what he means. Since the Howell resident began the therapy, she notes, her son has come a long way.
“When we first started, he wouldn’t notice anyone else in the room. He wouldn’t even look at anyone,” Carter says. “Now, he laughs out loud when he’s tickled, grabs a pretzel from a visitor’s hand and chomps into it, laughs and runs away. He wanted to feel the snow settling on the balcony separating his playroom from the outdoors, and climbs up the side of the stairs trying to get around a baby gate so he could go upstairs to watch his favorite movie.”
Adam Brode, a P.L.A.Y. Project home consultant and speech language pathologist, has helped with that. Not only has he modeled how to play with Richard, he’s consulted with Carter about how to go about playing with Richard a minimum of 20-25 hours a week. She says it was difficult for her to catch on to how to play with her son, finding herself making it a mechanical exercise instead of an intuitive and natural experience at first.
“We’re making sure nothing stands in the way of reaching his full potential,” Brode says. “We work to maximize the relationships kids like Richard can have with their families.”
Besides Richard, Carter has a husband and another son, Vince, 2, to care for. Still, she is aggressively working to ensure Richard has the best chance possible. Besides working with Solomon, he is also enrolled in speech, occupation and music therapy programs. Carter, founding of the Boxing Autism Club, a support group in Livingston County and the executive director of the Michigan Autism Partnership, has become an autism activist. She works for change, pointing out that insurance companies in the state of Michigan don’t cover these recommended therapies for autistic children.
She also offers reassurance for other parents of autistic children.
“If you really want to learn, have the desire to do this and your heart is in the right place, you are going to be able to do this.”
Here is another article from www.playproject.org.
The P.L.A.Y. Project Awarded $1.85 Million Grant from the National Institute of Mental Health
September 29, 2009
Grant to Fund Research on Play-based Early Intervention for Autism; Confront Increasing Numbers of Young Children on the Spectrum
Through the support of a $1.85 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Richard Solomon, MD, is conducting a three-year study of The Play and Language for Autistic Youngsters (P.L.A.Y.) Project Home Consulting model, a parent-training program that addresses the need for intensive early intervention for young children on the autism spectrum.
Today, approximately one in every 150 children is diagnosed with an autistic spectrum disorder. As the fastest growing disability in the U.S., autism continues to gain public attention, yet there is a national shortage of personnel trained in intensive approaches as recommended by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). The P.L.A.Y. Project a ddresses this shortage by using a ‘train the trainer’ approach, which promotes rapid dissemination of the program.
Developed by Dr. Solomon, P.L.A.Y. is a practical, family-friendly application of renowned child psychiatrist Dr. Stanley Greenspan’s Developmental, Individual-differences, Relationship-based (DIR) framework, popularly known as Floortime. Through structured monthly home visits focused on modeling, coaching, and video feedback, consultants train parents to engage their child with autism in ways that promote emotional connection and communication. By training parents to participate in their child’s intervention, the program also promises to be cost-effective. The P.L.A.Y. Project costs under $4,000 per year, in comparison with other interventions that cost $40,000 to $60,000 per year.
With research-design guidance from Michigan State University, and community-outreach support from Easter Seals, The P.L.A.Y. Project is conducting a randomized, controlled, and blinded clinical trial. Drawing participants from five Easter Seals autism service locations, the study compares the outcomes of 60 children who participate in The P.L.A.Y. Project with the outcomes of 60 children who receive standard, community interventions, making it the largest study of its kind. Before and after the 12-month intervention, each child is assessed with a battery of tests to measure developmental level, speech and language, sensory-motor profile, and social skills.
“Preliminary research and early dissemination into community agencies, schools and hospitals around the world has demonstrated the effectiveness of our model,” said Dr. Solomon, medical director of The P.L.A.Y. Project. “Positive research outcomes would support efforts to encourage private insurers and government agencies to approve increases in funding for play-based autism intensive intervention services and ultimately, help children with autism become more engaged with the world around them.”