Autism is generally defined in terms of lack of social interaction and communication also presence of repetitive and bizarre behaviors. Developmental differences are commonly seen in social-emotional domain. It is thought that play and art-based psychotherapy will be functional in stimulating social-emotional development (to awaken and to enhance the desire for relationship, to form and to improve the sense of self, to stimulate social communication). This case study is about a 19-month-old boy with early autistic symptoms. 60-session developmental support included an evaluation that begins with the identification of signs of autistic development and play and/or art therapy techniques. Also, psychotherapy sessions with her mother were conducted correspondingly. The therapeutic work was grounded on psychodynamic theory, formulation and techniques. The observations of the family, and especially transformation and improvement in the mother’s holding and containing capacity were evaluated through psychodynamic formulation. At the end of 60 sessions, it was observed that Y.K. was no longer hesitant to make eye connection, he felt desire to express himself, his vocabulary was improved, his plays were elaborated, he made progress on his individuation, also he could express his creative potential which is important for the development of the self. This case study suggests a therapeutic practice, which involves the identification of prodromal autistic symptoms, supporting development through socio-emotional stimulation via play and art through child-therapist interaction and addressing the family in a systematic way.
Autism, early symptoms, social-emotional development, play therapy