Let's Talk Child Led, Play-Based Therapy!
I believe that building a strong therapeutic relationship with my clients is of the utmost importance. The key to an authentic, trusting relationship is to allow my clients to feel understood and heard, to give meaning and power to their voice and their actions. My therapeutic style tends to be child led, or person led, and very much play based. So, what does that look like? I let my client show me what they are most interested in, and we build off of the session from there. I have my set goals and targets in mind, but I'm allowing my client to have power in the session and choice the direction that we go. By empowering my clients to have a choice in therapy, this allows for more spontaneous novel utterances, which is the ultimate goal.
In particular, this is especially relevant for Gestalt Language Processors, as there typically is an increase in delayed echolalia, or scripts, when these individuals are participating in activities that are the most interesting and engaging for their individual profiles. A typical session could include a lot of physical movement (i.e. dancing, playing in a sensory swing, climbing a ladder, etc.), and/or activities that are the most important to the client (I.e. puzzles, building blocks, etc.). The key to this approach is that rather than following our own lesson plan, we are delving deeper into the world of the child and the way that they want to play. So, why is this important? Well, rather than teaching the child that they are supposed to be following a set of commands, this approach shows the child that we are willing and open to engage with them in a manner that they are passionate about. We are showing the child that they can trust us, and that we care deeply about their ideas and interests, that their thoughts and ideas carry meaning and that we want to share alongside with them. Let the child lead, and watch the magic follow!