The Role of ‘Play’ in Speech Therapy

by Adina Levy

Ever wondered about the role ‘play‘ has in speech therapy, especially for our beautiful autistic children?

Well, let’s address the question: Is there a right or wrong way to play?

The simple answer? Nope… and here’s why:

Every individual, whether they’re autistic, neurodivergent, or simply unique (because we all are!), has their own beautiful way of playing, exploring, and interacting with the world.

Play is…

🚫 Not something that ‘should’ look any particular way⁠

🚫 Not about following a set developmental path.⁠

✅ ALWAYS about fun, flow, and joy⁠

When Play Stops Being Play…⁠

❌ If the fun stops, it’s not play⁠

❌ If it becomes a task rather than a joy, it’s not play⁠

I don’t see that play is the end point or is the goal. And the moment that we write that down as a goal, we as therapists or as parents advocating for our kids are stepping away from the idea that all play is okay and we’re moving towards a feeling of pressure and needing to encourage or teach or show that a child should interact with toys, with activities in a certain way.

🎧 In Episode 14 of the Exploring Neurodiversity Podcast, I share tips on how we can be more present and celebrate different ways that play can look!⁠

If this topic tickles your brain and you want to learn more about Neurodiversity affirming approaches to supporting children, register for the Free Kickstart webinar below!

boys dress ups pretend play

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