The P.L.A.Y. Project on RelateNow

The P.L.A.Y. Project is a community based/regional autism training and early intervention program pioneered by Dr. Rick Solomon, M.D. The P.L.A.Y. Project is dedicated to empowering parents and professionals to implement intensive, developmental interventions for young children with autism in the most effective and efficient way.

The P.L.A.Y. Project and RelateNow Partner - Effective October 2007
The P.L.A.Y. Project will have their program available to families and consultants to access demonstrational videos of Dr. Solomon, documents explaining techniques and methods, and hundreds of play activities you can do with your child. The P.L.A.Y. Project program on RelateNow has tools that will allow for one on one interaction between consultants and families to make recommendations on techniques and content within the system, answer questions families have within the message boards, and review videos that are uploaded to the families private space. The families can additionally invite team members (grandparents, daycare providers, teachers, speech pathologists...) to view the progress of their child and learn the P.L.A.Y principles so that everyone can work together to support the child.

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The P.L.A.Y. Project Overview

What is The P.L.A.Y. Project?
“P.L.A.Y.” is short for Play and Language for Autistic Youngsters. Created by Richard Solomon MD and based on the DIR® (Developmental, Individualized, Relationship-based) theory of Stanley Greenspan MD, our program emphasizes the importance of helping parents become their child’s best P.L.A.Y. partner. We are a national autism training and research center, with these key components:

  1. Early Autism Diagnosis Dr. Solomon has presented to hundreds of pediatricians and primary care providers to educate them about the importance of early diagnosis and referral. A key component to The P.L.A.Y. Project mission is early intervention.
  1. Home Consulting The P.L.A.Y. Project Home Consultant Program provides training and support for families of young children (18 months to 6 years) with autism.  Trained consultants teach parents techniques that are effective, fun, and useful in day-to-day interactions with their child with autism.  By providing training in the home, consultants see the family in an environment where the child feels comfortable, rather than in a setting unfamiliar and possibly intimidating to the child.

Home Consultation typically costs around $4,000 per year (compared to other interventions that can be $40,000 to $60,000 annually).  The program includes:

  • Family support
  • 10 home visits per year
  • 3 hour sessions roughly divided between 1 hour of modeling, 1 hour of coaching the family and 1 hour of feedback.
  • Selected videotaping of home visit interactions, followed by video analysis which is uploaded to your child's space, online evaluations and feedback .
  • Assistance with educational programming as well as home and school goal planning tool.
  1. Training and Education Through community workshops and agency trainings, Dr. Solomon teaches the specific methods that have worked for families and their young children with autism across the country. To date, about 100 agency professionals have been trained in The P.L.A.Y. Project methods and thousands of parents and professionals have attended Dr. Solomon’s community workshops.

 

  • Agency Training We train agencies to provide home consultation services to families. Home Consultants attend a 4-day training retreat, followed by a year of supervision from Dr. Solomon and his team of experts.
    • Over 40 agencies in 17 states have been trained as Home Consultants.
    • We have trained non-profit organizations such as Easter Seals, state government agencies, and private therapy institutions.
  • Community Workshops Our community trainings help parents and professionals learn about autism and the benefits of early intervention.

 

DVD/CD-ROM For parents and professionals who want to learn the basics of play-based therapy, this educational DVD has dozens of the best video clips of parents demonstrating effective play-based interventions with their children with autism, chosen from hundreds of home visits and analyzed by Dr. Solomon.

Research The P.L.A.Y. Project is committed to evidence-based practice. Evidence is gathered routinely within the intervention model.  The video documentation and analysis that is used to train parents has also been a useful tool for assessing program effectiveness.

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Beginning The P.L.A.Y. Project

The P.L.A.Y. Project (Play and Language for Autistic Youngsters) began in 2001, when Richard Solomon, MD, decided to create an affordable early intervention program for young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in Ann Arbor, MI.  As a developmental and behavioral pediatrician, Dr. Solomon realized that families who received a diagnosis needed guidance, support and effective treatment options. 

Dr. Solomon designed The P.L.A.Y. Project Home Consulting program as a response to the lack of services in his community and across the country.  He saw that most families could not afford to pay $40,000 to $60,000 per year for the intensive interventions recommended for young children with ASD. The P.L.A.Y. Project, by comparison, trains parents to provide the hours of intervention their children need, reducing the cost to around $4,000 per year.

Dr. Solomon started The P.L.A.Y. Project by hiring and supervising a small number of qualified therapists as Home Consultants. Through structured monthly home visits, the consultants trained parents to effectively engage their children with ASD in day-to-day interactions.  The program emphasized the importance of helping parents become their child’s best play partner. 

What began as a community-based program has quickly grown into a model that is being replicated nationally.  Dr. Solomon has trained over 100 child-development professional to be Home Consultants.  There are more than 40 agencies in 17 states providing families with the intensive programming they need.

The intervention is based on the Developmental, Individualized, Relationship-based (DIR) approach of Dr. Stanley Greenspan, popularly known as Floortime. The methods and techniques are designed to help children resolve the three core deficits of autism: 1) self-isolation and impaired social skills; 2) language delay and impaired communication; and 3) stereotyped or repetitive behaviors.

The results of research on the model are encouraging. Dr. Solomon has evaluated the ability of parents to successfully use play-based approaches, and his results indicate that parents can learn the play-based methods. Nearly half of the children using The PLAY Project Home Consultation model make good to excellent progress, and there was 90% parent satisfaction with the services provided. The research was recently published in the peer-reviewed journal, Autism: The International Journal of Research and Practice. Dr. Solomon is currently conducting a controlled study of The P.L.A.Y. Project, in partnership with Easter Seals and with the help of a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health.

The P.L.A.Y. Project Vision
Our vision is to be a community-based, national autism training and early intervention center dedicated to empowering parents and professionals to implement intensive, developmental interventions for young children with autism in the most effective and efficient way.

The P.L.A.Y. Project Mission

  • Promote early identification and early intervention
  • Educate community regarding National Academy of Sciences recommendations:
  • Begin interventions early (18 months to 5 years)
  • Use intensive intervention 25 hours per week
  • Have a teacher/play partner to child ratio of 1:1 or 1:2
  • Use interventions that are engaging
  • Have a strategic direction (e.g. social skills, language, etc.)
  • Use community based approaches to promulgate Developmental, Individualized and Relationship-based interventions (DIR®)
  • Support families in a parent-professional partnership
  • Scientifically evaluate effectiveness of program
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Frequently Asked Questions about the P.L.A.Y. Project

What is intensive intervention?
The P.L.A.Y. Project is an “intensive intervention.” This means that children receive many hours of engagement. The National Academy of Sciences defines “intensive” programming as 25 hours per week of one-on-one interaction.

What skills are targeted in The P.L.A.Y. Project?
Our program focuses on helping children with ASD build emotional connections and engage in meaningful relationships with their family and others. By focusing on relationships, we help children gain skills, by moving up the six Functional Developmental Levels (FDLs)*:

  1. Self-regulation and shared attention
  2. Engagement and intimacy
  3. 2-way communication and initiation
  4. Complex communication and language
  5. Emotional ideas, shared meaning, simple symbolic play
  6. Emotional thinking, complex symbolic play

What is DIR/Floortime?
“DIR” is short for Developmental, Individual-differences and Relationship-based. “Floortime” refers to the practice of getting down on the floor and playing with the child at his/her level. In this model we apply techniques that match the child’s Developmental level—in other words, “meet’em where they’re at.”  Each child is seen as an Individual and the program is tailored to match the individual capacities and needs of the child. We help the child gain social skills and language by building strong Relationships with adults, and eventually with peers.

What is the relationship between The P.L.A.Y. Project and DIR?
The P.L.A.Y. Project is a practical, family-friendly, and affordable application of the DIR framework. Based on the DIR theory, the home consultants train parents to deliver intensive, one-on-one interventions that are individualized and engaging. The P.L.A.Y. Project is a much more structured version of DIR. We also provide a community-based delivery system through Home Consultation. Dr. Greenspan and Dr. Solomon are colleagues and Dr. Greenspan fully supports this structured application of his theory.  Dr. Solomon is on the faculty of Dr. Greenspan and Dr. Serena Weider’s Interdisciplinary Council on Developmental and Learning Disorders (ICDL).

How does The P.L.A.Y. Project compare with Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA)?
P.L.A.Y. and ABA are complimentary and have different strategic directions.  Many families are choosing to apply both methods.  Developmental interventions, such as The P.L.A.Y. Project and DIR, are much more flexible than behavioral approaches, such as ABA.  Our strategies are child-centered with activities based on following the child’s lead; ABA is program-centered with a skill-and-drill based curriculum. Play-based methods are especially helpful in addressing the social deficits of children with autism. 

Where is The P.L.A.Y. Project located?
The P.L.A.Y. Project headquarters is in Ann Arbor, MI, but there are P.L.A.Y. Project Home Consulting programs in all over the country, from Connecticut to California. See our list of agencies in this document, or go to our website www.playproject.org and click on “Home Consulting: In Your Area.”

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Home Consulting Program

The P.L.A.Y. Project Home Consultant Program provides training and support for families of young children (18 months to 6 years) with autism right in their home. Trained consultants teach parents techniques that are effective, fun, and useful in day-to-day interactions with their child with autism. By providing training in the home, consultants see the family in an environment where the child feels comfortable, rather than in a setting unfamiliar and possibly intimidating to the child.

The program is operating successfully in agencies all over the country, including non-profit organizations such as Easter Seals, state government agencies, and private therapy institutions.

The consultants, who have degrees in child development fields, receive intensive training by Dr. Solomon and his supervisory staff, in the DIR®/P.L.A.Y. Project® model before working with families. They then make 3-hour visits every four to six weeks to families’ homes to teach parents how to provide intensive, one-on-one, play-based services to their young children with autism.

Find a P.L.A.Y. Project In Your Area!

If there are no Home Consulting Programs in your community and you are interested in learning more about The P.L.A.Y. Project resources or workshops, please contact our office.

phone (734) 997-9088
fax (734) 997-9211
email info@playproject.org

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How can Licensed Home Consultants offer RelateNow - P.L.A.Y. to their families?

If you are a Licensed Home Consultant for the P.L.A.Y. Project you can join the RelateNow - P.L.A.Y. Program. To join you need to do the following:

  1. Call RelateNow (866-697-2935) to get your account activated.
  2. You will then be given a username and password that will allow you to have the role of a consultant.
  3. Once you can log in you can invite the families you are working with to join you on the RelateNow - P.L.A.Y. Program which allows you to interact and manage your case load privately online. Click here or more details on the benefits and features of managing your families through RelateNow.com
  4. For a limited time, RelateNow is offering a special promotion to Home Consultants to get a free Flip Video Camera when they register their families on RelateNow - P.L.A.Y.

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