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The Learn Play Thrive Approach to Autism

The Learn Play Thrive Approach to Autism

What is this approach?

This neuro-diversity affirming approach seeks to teach therapists how to interpret behavior and generate interventions built on deepening a provider’s understanding of autism learning styles. Therapists are trained to create effective interventions based on the strengths and learning styles of autistic children. Core to this framework is the drive to provide interventions that reflect best practice and commit to respecting and building upon the unique strengths of kids who think and learn differently.

What are some ‘Key Points?’

  • Using autistic person vs person with autism.
    • Autistic person is the preferred term because it is “identity-affirming’, ‘identify-first’ language. In using identity-first language, we are supporting the idea that autism is an inextricable piece of an autistic person’s identity and personality, rather than a condition or ‘disorder’ that needs fixing.
  • As trusted adults in a child’s life, therapists should take strides to build interventions that preserve a child’s positive self worth and celebrates their strengths, rather than solely operating from a deficit based perspective.
  • By using a strengths based approach, provider’s teach new skills in a way that strikes a balance between asking an autistic child to learn new skills and modifying the environment, teaching style or activity to support the child.
    • This is shift away from the behavioral approach of using rewards and external reinforcers to motivate the child, where the ultimate focus is compliance with therapist or teacher-led tasks.
  • The goal of any intervention is to reduce the weight on our autistic kids who are working hard already to meet the challenges of life in a world that is set up for neurotypical people.

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