SOURCE: The PLAY Project

PLAY and Language for Autistic Youngsters

March 09, 2011 08:00 ET

State of Ohio to Implement The P.L.A.Y. Project Autism Services Model

Ohio Department of Developmental Disability Funds Large-Scale Training in Relationship-Based Early Intervention for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders

COLUMBUS, OH--(Marketwire - March 9, 2011) - The Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) has selected the Play and Language for Autistic Youngsters (P.L.A.Y.) Project to train and certify 50 interventionists in early intervention and early childhood programs throughout the state of Ohio. The PLAY Project is an innovative, relationship-based early intervention program, which empowers parents to playfully engage their children in ways that promote social connection and language development.

As the fastest growing disability in the U.S., autism continues to gain public attention, yet there is a national shortage of personnel trained in intensive approaches as recommended by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). In Ohio, many children with ASD do not have access to intensive services until they reach three years of age, when the autism scholarship is available. After this large-scale training, set to take place in Columbus, OH in May of this year, early interventionists will be able to provide evidence-based services to very young children with ASD and their families throughout the state. Professional PLAY Consultants will be trained and certified to teach parents techniques that are effective, fun, and useful in day-to-day interactions with their child.

"The model fits well with County Boards of Developmental Disabilities, which support interventions that are positive, evidence-based, and family-focused," said Molly Kurtz, who is coordinating the training at the state level. "Five counties have already successfully implemented the PLAY Project, and we are looking forward to expanding these services across the state."

The PLAY Project, based in Ann Arbor, MI, uses a 'train-the-trainer' approach, which promotes rapid dissemination of the program. The professional training program was developed in 2004 by Richard Solomon, MD to address the growing need for intensive early autism intervention, and has trained hundreds of professionals in the last 6 years. Licensed PLAY agencies operate in 25 states, including Ohio, as well as in countries around the world.

A growing body of research suggests that the model is successful and cost-effective. An initial pilot study of The PLAY Project showed promising results, and a $1.85 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has allowed The PLAY Project to conduct a randomized, controlled trial of the model. Results of the study are expected in 2012.

"The goal of The PLAY Project is to help parents become their child's best play partner by providing effective, low cost, playful interventions right at home," said Richard Solomon, MD, founder and Medical Director of The PLAY Project. "The state of Ohio is dedicated to this goal, and we are excited to be working with them to help as many children and families as possible."

About The P.L.A.Y. Project®
Created by Richard Solomon, MD, and based on the DIR® (Developmental, Individual-differences, Relationship-based) theory of Stanley Greenspan, MD, The P.L.A.Y. Project emphasizes the importance of helping parents become their child's best P.L.A.Y. partner through evidence-based practice. Practical, affordable, and family-friendly, the P.L.A.Y. Project Home Consulting model has become widely practiced with positive clinical and research results. The program is operating in five countries and 25 states in the U.S., including many Easter Seals locations. More than 300 trained Home Consultants serve over a thousand children on the autistic spectrum every year. For more information about The P.L.A.Y. Project, visit

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Michelle Dailey
    Phone: 734-997-9088
    Email: Email Contact