AUTISM: Cultivating Healthy Relationships Through Play

Specializing in autism, but relevant for all, we share how to connect more deeply with your special child through play!
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  • Lectures 22
  • Length 2 hours
  • Skill Level Beginner Level
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
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About This Course

Published 4/2015 English

Course Description

Parents are tired and overwhelmed, especially parents with children who have special needs, such as autism.

In this course we will help you let go of the push and pull to try to get your child to meet your goals and help you discover how to reach your goals through play, for young and old, more naturally.

Most therapeutic approaches don't model neurotypical play, therefore our kids don't have the opportunity to learn things like theory of mind, initiating interaction, and good 'ole Parallel Play or Cooperative Play skills!

This is a quick introductory guide to help you or your team members get started through our short and fun videos!

We recommend taking a couple days in between each section to practice what you learn.

Let's bring natural back to the therapy experience!

What are the requirements?

  • Openness to looking at a fresh perspective
  • Willingness to jump in and have some fun
  • No experience or prerequisites are required

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Improve your relationship with your child or loved one with special needs
  • Let go of the frustration that comes from how to get your child to do what you want them to do
  • Understand the foundation to creating a deeper connection with your child through play
  • Discover what your special child is missing if they aren't exposed to neurotypical peers and how to provide what they need
  • Learn how to implement the Five Developmental Stages of Play when appropriate
  • Strengthen your child's ability to experience theory of mind
  • Bring more play into your life and the life of your child

Who is the target audience?

  • Parents and professionals who want to learn more about play therapy for autism and related challenges
  • Parents and professionals who are new to a Natural Play Therapy Program
  • Family members of people with special needs who want to understand how to relate
  • People who want to connect more deeply with their loved one, in a more natural way
  • Those who wish to add more play to their lives, relationships, and therapeutic approaches

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: Understanding the Importance of the Stages of Play
9 pages

We are so happy to have you here! If you have any questions please let us know! We are happy to help.


You are on your way to creating a deeper connection with your child! Cultivating a healthy relationship for each person in your family is important to your child's growth and development. Congratulations on getting one step closer to letting go of frustration and strengthening your understanding of your child's world.


A brief introduction, explaining the basics of Natural Play Therapy.


Why are we focusing on the stages of play?  In this video we answer why each stage plays a valuable role in the learning process.

3 questions

This quiz is just for fun! In true Natural Play Therapy style, there is no pressure here! Just have fun!

Section 2: Solitary Play

Defining Solitary Play: The first stage of play that begins in infancy and continues into adulthood.


Solitary Play In Action: Allie builds trust through letting go of expectations and experimenting with Solitary Play.

5 pages

Solitary Play Assignment: Put what you learned into action! It is time to experiment with Solitary Play!

5 questions

Let's review Solitary Play

Section 3: Spectator Play

Defining Spectator Play: The second stage of play to emerge, beginning around age two and continuing into adulthood.


Spectator Play In Action: Allie allows Mark to learn without pressure by observing her actions without interruption.

5 pages
Put what you learned into action! It is time to experiment with Spectator Play!
5 questions

Let's review Spectator Play

Section 4: Parallel Play

Defining Parallel Play: The third stage of play to emerge, showing signs around age two and a half and continuing into adulthood.


Parallel Play In Action: View a variety of children and adults with children doing Parallel Play. Notice what happens when Spectator Play occurs and the adult tries to make something happen. This is a reminder to let go and continue doing Parallel Play.

7 pages
Now you get to put Parallel Play into action!
5 questions

Let's review Parallel Play

Section 5: Associative Play

Defining Associative Play: This is the fourth stage of play, however it is the first interactive stage of play!


Associative Play In Action: Associative Play has many different ways of happening!

6 pages
It is time to practice enjoying interaction without going for more!
5 questions

Let's Review Associative Play

Section 6: Cooperative Play

Defining Cooperative Play: This is the stage of play everyone typically jumps to, without building the foundation of Solitary, Spectator, Parallel & Associative Play.


Cooperative Play In Action: See Cooperative Play between parent and child and being facilitated between two children by an adult.

10 pages
It is time to practice Cooperative Play!
5 questions

Let's Review Cooperative Play

Section 7: Full Circle

How can you take what you have learned to the next level? Find out here!


Check out our Natural Play Therapy Connection Course! This course only happens once a year. Contact us to learn more by setting up a free call at

8 pages

We've got your back!

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Instructor Biography

Julie Sando, Director of Autistically Inclined

Julie has worked with over 1,000 families touched by autism world-wide since 1998. Studying everything from Behavior Modification to Relationship based modalities, Julie felt stifled by being contained in a box, while representing various modalities she was trained and certified in through the years. Having to represent a modality meant fitting a child into a program rather than creating a program around a child. This mind-shift inspired the creation of Natural Play Therapy - where no two programs look exactly alike, yet they are all based on respect for the child, creating emotional trust, and a natural desire to learn. Julie is passionate about her work, connecting with families near and far.

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