From the outside looking in, ABA therapy can look a lot like playtime.

And that’s exactly the point.

“It might not look like intensive therapy, but that’s intentional,” said Crystal Lissuzzo, MEd, BCBA, LBA, clinical treatment director for Inner Circle Autism Network, Oklahoma City. “Kids learn the best through play. Whether it’s social cues, sharing, or communication, all of these important skills can be learned naturally through play.”

What Makes Play-Based Therapy Work?

Play-based ABA therapy is a scientific approach that uses play to teach children new skills and adaptive behaviors. Unlike other forms of therapy that might place children in unfamiliar environments where they’re expected to take tests or sit at a table and answer questions, play-based therapy leverages children’s natural affinity for play.

With play-based therapy, children are not compelled to do anything they don’t want to do, ensuring they are interested and engaged throughout each therapy session. This approach encourages a love of learning by creating learning opportunities in natural environments that children are accustomed to and enjoy.

Even during activities that can at first seem simple or trivial, such as playing with a toy car or drawing pictures, children at Inner Circle are learning valuable social skills and progressing toward their therapy goals.

“As we play we’re asking the child questions about a toy or activity, helping them develop a better understanding of their environment and their relationship to what is happening around them,” said Samantha Quintana, Registered Behavior Technician with Inner Circle. “ABA therapy can include playing with other kids and learning to be more flexible or how to make friends. Whatever the activity is, it will always be centered around play and thoughtfully designed to teach valuable skills and positive behaviors.”

Play With a Purpose

Play is never without purpose at Inner Circle. Every situation or activity during therapy sessions is intended to work on the social skills and learning objectives central to any child’s ABA therapy program.

By systematically creating learning opportunities centered around play, Inner Circle’s Board-Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) and Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs) help children learn communication skills, sharing, playing with others, and a host of other social skills and positive behaviors that are essential for an independent life.

“It’s hard to argue with the positive outcomes and progress that play-based ABA therapy is advancing for children with autism and their families,” said Inner Circle CEO David Mikula. “This is real, science-backed therapy that is absolutely making a difference in people’s lives.”

Learn more about our process and how play-based ABA therapy works for our clients and their families.