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Cherry Tree



  • Staci Neustadt

Joyful connections through play!

Updated: Dec 14, 2023

We all want to feel connected with our children.  But sometimes we get so involved in trying to “fix” something because someone told us or taught us that something is wrong with our children when they don't "look like" other children.  The problem is that different is not necessarily wrong, or worse, a deficit.  Sometimes it just means that your child, due to sensory-based differences, is learning differently than other children their age.  They may need to practice something more times than they do.  It may take them longer to connect cause and effect.  They may feel a need to organize their world in a way that makes sense to them that you cannot figure out. 

Some professionals will tell you to “fix” how the child is playing.

But when we teach someone not to do something they are already enjoying, they’re learning a cognitive task.  Teaching someone “how to play” turns playing into a cognitive task, which is WORK.  All children need to play and deserve to play in a way that is going to help them learn and grow in their own unique development.  Tune into what your child is doing and imitate their play to build a true connection that will deepen your bond with your child and allow you to enter their world. The benefits of play for autistic children include developing important social, cognitive, and emotional skills.

What kind of play does your child enjoy?

Sensorimotor Play - exploring the senses such as touch, visual, or smell

Organizing Play - putting toys in order such as lining up cars

Experimental Play - curious about gravity or cause/effect

Pretend Play - using something from a remembered event or routine

Communicative Play - vocal play such as sounds or repeating favorite lines from movies, talking about a favorite topic

Want to learn more about autistic play and how to engage with your child in their play?!?

On Monday, Making Sense of Autism is releasing our training on autistic play!!! Learn about play from Tara Marshall, an autistic speech-language pathology assistant, and member of our team!

Stay tuned so you can sign up for the release sale which will run Monday-Friday!!


Tara Marshall, autistic SLPA & Staci Neustadt MS CCC-SLP

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