Playwisely Program Improves Sensory-Based Skills
By Shana R. Spindler, Ph.D. on September 13, 2013
Background: Autism insurance coverage varies greatly. Given the high cost of some autism therapies, middle and low-income families have limited treatment options. Researchers are working to find cost-effective autism therapy.
What’s new: The Playwisely Program is a low-cost system designed to promote connections between sensory areas of the brain. The program uses interactive flashcards that mix sight, sound, and touch. Researchers from the Autism Treatment Center in Dallas, Texas, divided 18 children with mild to severe autism into two treatment groups: Playwisely or usual care. The researchers found that Playwisely improves multiple skills in ASD after three months. They reported significant improvements in recognition, sensory mixing, speech sound awareness, letter recognition, and early memory skills. The small sample size prevented some study comparisons, such as Playwisely benefits for specific age groups.
Why it’s important: The authors of the study estimate that Playwisely is one-tenth the cost of available alternatives. This makes Playwisely an attractive option for all families, regardless of income. A major strength to this study is that clinicians made post-treatment assessments in a blind manner. This means the clinician did not know if the child was part of the Playwisely or usual care group.
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