Replays: Using Play to Enhance Emotional and Behavioral Development for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Replays: Using Play to Enhance Emotional and Behavioral Development for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Replays: Using Play to Enhance Emotional and Behavioral Development for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Replays: Using Play to Enhance Emotional and Behavioral Development for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Synopsis

Replays addresses the challenging behaviors seen in children with autism spectrum disorders through a technique that involves interactive symbolic play. In a step-by-step fashion, Replays shows parents and professionals how to help children access their own emotions, whether they are verbal or non-verbal, cognitively able or impaired, even-tempered or emotionally volatile. The chapters focus on introducing and implementing replays, while also addressing how to tailor the replays for children in different settings and situations. Levine and Chedd, through their expertise, approach this subject by looking at more than just behavioral management strategies and socio-emotional and communicative development. The authors concentrate on how children can learn to re-experience and master the complex emotional state that can lead to ongoing behavioral challenges.

Excerpt

If it's not fun, why do it?

– Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry's

Replays is a fun, easy-to-learn, play-based approach developed to help children who have behavioral difficulties due to intense responding. While this specific technique is new, it is couched in a very long history of using play as a therapeutic medium for working with children who are having difficulty coping with challenging emotions.

What are the mechanisms by which Replays works?

Children who have rapid, intense and often negative emotional and behavioral reactions to seemingly small events (e.g. haircuts; broken toys; loud noises; changes in schedules; taking medicine) literally [practice] with adult support, by re-experiencing these events in the context of playful, exaggerated, and symbolic re-enactment. Often children want to play the event over and over again as they [master] it. The child takes on different roles (e.g. himself as the star in the event; the person causing the problem by pretending to be the barber). The adult adds humor to help relax the child and make the re-experiencing pleasurable and creative. When the event occurs the next time, the child has had so much practice that the previously learned emotional reaction of extreme upset often greatly diminishes. In some cases, the upsetting . . .

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