When you have concerns about your child, you want the best possible help for them, especially in the early years when intervention is so key. Here’s some information about the research behind PLAY Project as well as a comparison chart comparing PLAY Project techniques/goals to Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) techniques/goals.
Is there evidence that the PLAY Project works?
Yes, there is a base of research and evidence for PLAY Project autism intervention. Results from a randomized controlled trial of PLAY Project was published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics in 2014. This large-scale study focused on the impact of PLAY autism intervention: a parent-implemented (a.k.a. parent-mediated) play and relationship focused program. The research study showed the significant improvements below.
Significant improvements in:
• caregiver/parent and child interaction
• social interaction of children with autism
• social-emotional development of children with autism
• autism-related diagnostic category/symptoms including behavioral compliance
• Improved parent stress and depression; and
• PLAY Project consultants were true to the model (showed fidelity).
Additional Evidence for PLAY Project Autism Intervention:
The PLAY Project early intervention program reduces autism symptomology and improves social impairment, a core deficit of children with autism.
The principles, methods, and techniques of the PLAY Project were developed on evidence-based practices in autism early intervention. For example, PLAY Project addresses the following:
• Use of a parent‐mediated model for ASD (Wong C, Odom S, Hume K, Cox, et al, 2013)
• Meets the National Research Centers standards for intensive early intervention (2001)
How does Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) differ from the PLAY Project?
There are similarities and differences between ABA and the PLAY Project. The most important considerations are that they both are evidenced-based, and both meet the requirements for an intensive autism intervention according to the National Research Council (2001). PLAY and ABA are complementary because they address different and equally important aspects of what the child with ASD needs. Many children can benefit from receiving both types of intensive intervention and PLAY Project is a great way to get started with autism intervention, particularly for children birth- 5 years of age. PLAY Project results in improved social interaction, a skill necessary for all others including educational readiness.
Comparison of Developmental and Behavioral Approaches
|Area||Developmental & Behavioral – PLAY Project||Behavioral – ABA|
|Parent Role||Parents as the expert; helping the child as a PLAY partner and being coached by professionals||Parents often not involved in direct ABA services|
|Emphasis||Social interaction||Educational readiness|
|Initiation||Child Initiated||Program Initiated|
|Philosophy||Follow child’s readiness||Meet Program Goals|
|Structure||Strategic and Flexible||More Highly Prescribed|
|Intensity||15-20 hours/week during family routines, 1 on 1 focus on social interaction||20-40 hours per week, 1 on 1, focus on gaining skills|
|Interaction||Playful, social interaction||Task lists and checklists|
|Environment||More Naturalistic||More Controlled|
|Generalization to Other Settings||Early Generalization Common||Later Generalization Typical|
|Outcome||Relationship, Social Skills Language and Feelings||Competence in Varied Skills especially cognitive & academic|
Adapted from Richard Solomon, MD.
What are the best resources for understanding the PLAY Project approach?
The Welcome to The PLAY Project Introductory online course is a great introduction to the PLAY Project and can be purchased directly here. Additional resources are available at www.playproject.org.