Small Study Shows Promising Results for 3i Play Therapy
By Chelsea Toledo, M.A. on October 2, 2018
Background: While no standardized treatments exist for individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), treatment strategies have been devised which vary based on the type and severity of symptom presentation. Relatively few studies have assessed potential changes in outcomes among children with ASD who undergo play therapy.
What’s New: A recent study evaluated a type of play therapy called 3i, which stands for “interactive, intensive, and individual.” The researchers administered the therapy – which consisted of sensory games (Phase I), symbolic play (Phase II), and interactive play with peers (Phase III) – to 20 French children between the ages of 2 and 14 over the course of 24 months.
The researchers found:
- At the end of 24 months, participants showed significant behavioral and developmental improvement as measured by the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales (VABS) and Nidel Imitation Scale;
- Communication also improved among the participants, with the assessed age of communication increasing by 34%;
- Improvements in the VABS socialization score – which increased 83%, on average – occurred more dramatically among participants who had spent the most time doing the 3i regimen.
Why it’s important: This article suggests that 3i play therapy could improve developmental and behavioral outcomes in children with ASD. Future research could demonstrate which children show the most improvement using this technique, informing caregivers’ and clinicians’ decisions around therapy.
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