The P.L.A.Y. Project: our presentation at the ASA Conference

Hello from the Autism Society of America (ASA) 38th Annual Conference in Phoenix. There are over 1,500 people attending the conference this year. They include representatives from nine Easter Seals affiliates plus headquarters staff.

This conference is unique because the attendees include not just professionals working with people with autism, but also individuals with autism, their families and caregivers. Here, families can hear from researchers, learn about service providers and network with other families who have similar experiences  It’s one of the few places where you really get a sense of the inclusiveness of the ASA, a grassroots organization started by families over 40 years ago.

Yesterday, Julie Dorcey from Easter Seals Michigan, Rick Solomon, MD, founder of the P.L.A.Y. (Play and Language for Autistic Youngsters) Project and I presented our session, The P.L.A.Y. Project: A Cost Effective Intensive Intervention for Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. There were about 100 attendees, from all types of backgrounds.

The P.L.A.Y. Project, based on the DIR (Developmental, Individual-Difference, Relationship-Based)/Floortime model of Stanley Greenspan, MD, is an intervention for young children up to 6 years old. Easter Seals has embraced the P.L.A.Y. Project for three basic reasons:

  • At about $4,000 per year, it’s one of the most affordable interventions for families. 
  • It’s a parent coaching, family empowerment model that’s provided in the child’s home. Parents are coached in how to interact in a way that draws interactions from their child and begins to help them open and close “circles of communication.”
  • From a professional perspective, the training is provided in such a way that it creates competent, consistently high-quality home consultants.

There are currently 19 Easter Seals P.L.A.Y. Projects, with five more planned to start in the coming months.

Next year’s ASA conference is going to be in Florida.  I look forward to attending it, meeting new people and connecting with old friends.  I encourage you to consider attending as well!


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  1. Ingrid Swanson Says:


    I attended the training in Daytona Beach in July and I am also interested in becoming a certified trainer. I am a teacher in Lake County and my students are in grades K – 1st and have been diagnosed with ASD. I have registered for the training in Ann Arbor, MC at the end of Sept. Please let me know if you have any additional information or if you would like to get together and discuss the training.


    Ingrid Swanson

  2. Alison Nunez Says:

    The PLAY project is a wonderful way to engage autistic children in early intervention programs that train the parents as well as educators. I am a pre-K Exceptional Student Educator and attended the PLAY workshop in Daytona Beach, Fl. on 7/16/07. It was excellent. Dr. Soloman is a dedicated man when it comes to really helping these children. I am hoping to teach an autistic classroom this year. I would like more information on how to become a certified trainer to work with these little ones. Thank you in advance, Alison Nunez

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