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Faculty lecture unlocks power of play in autistic children

Dr. JP Abner

MILLIGAN UNIVERSITY, Tenn. (Oct. 5, 2022) — As a part of Milligan University’s fall Faculty Lecture Series, Dr. John Paul Abner, professor of psychology and occupational therapy, will present a lecture titled “Parent Child Interaction Therapy: Unlocking the Power of Play for Children on the Autism Spectrum.” The lecture will be held in the university’s Hyder Auditorium on​​ Tuesday, October 11, at 6:30 p.m.  

Abners’ lecture focuses on the Child Directed Interaction Therapy (CDIT) and its efficacy in use with children on the autism spectrum. CDIT is based on PCIT, an evidenced based intervention that enriches children’s language skills, decreases disruptive behavior problems, and increases warmth and attachment in the parent/child relationship. Other research on this topic will be explored, as well as discussing the importance of play in child development. 

“All too often, our interventions with children on the spectrum are efforts to get them to out into our world,” said Abner. “Child Directed Interaction Therapy meets children in their world of play, which has the power to build language and social skills.”

Abner holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Florida. He is one of only 21 people in the world who has been designated as a Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) Global Trainer by PCIT International. He also is director of PCIT Training for the Northeast Tennessee Center of Excellence for Children in State Custody where he helps coordinate a statewide PCIT dissemination effort. A frequent speaker at PCIT conferences, he is passionate about PCIT and CARE (Child Adult Relationship Enhancement).

The Faculty Lecture Series provides students and other members of the Milligan community a glimpse into the active world of academic research and writing at Milligan. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Posted by Chandrea Shell on October 5, 2022.