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Autism Institute on Peer Socialization and Play
Integrated Play Groups® Training, Research and Global Outreach

IPG Collaborators

For more than two decades the Integrated Play Groups (IPG) model has flourished owing to the collective efforts of many remarkable professionals and families. In 2000, Pamela Wolfberg, Ph.D. joined with Therese O'Connor, M.A. in co-founding the Autism Institute on Peer Relations and Play (which was later renamed Autism Institute on Peer Socialization and Play). The following highlight our key collaborators and their unique contributions.

Developmental Pathways for Kids

Redwood City, California

Co-founders Glenda Fuge, OTR and Rebecca Berry, PT of DPK have developed a cutting-edge approach that combines Integrated Play Groups and Sensory Integration Therapy. This innovative program supports children identified as having both social and sensory issues (novice players) in small groups with typical peers from a neighboring school (expert players). Glenda and Becky have received wide recognition for their book, Pathways to Play! Combining Sensory Integration and Integrated Play Groups, which is a companion to the IPG Field Manual.

Friend 2 Friend Social Learning Society
Vancouver, B.C., CANADA

It has been a profound privlege to partner with Heather McCracken (Founder and Executive Director) and her fabulous team in delivering state of the-art programs that bring children together in the true spirit of play and friendship. Building on their unique and innovative Autism Demystification programs, they offer Friend 2 Friend (F2F) - Integrated Play Groups (IPG) programs throughout their region and beyond. As an internationally acclaimed speaker, author and producer of cutting-edge DVDs/packaged programs, Heather and her F2F model are reaching countless children and familes around the globe.

Montessori Autism Programs and Services (M.A.P.S, Inc)
Folsom, California

Co-founded by three determined women, MAPS offers IPGs as a part of their vision of creating a truly inclusive community that serves children of diverse ages and abilities. Wendy Richards (play coordinator and director/a.k.a."Play Czar") has worked in close collaboration with Pamela Wolfberg to implement IPGs as a part of their Sundance Montessori school/afterschool program. M.A.P.S. is a one-of-a-kind service provider that integrates IPGs with the principle pedagogy of Dr. Maria Montessori, fostering awe and respect for the individual child.

National Taipei Teachers College
Taipei, TAIWAN, R.O.C.

Collaboration with Dr. Tsung-ren Yang (Professor of Special Education) has included reserach and development to support Chinese children in IPGs at home and school in Taiwan and Malaysia. Dr. Yang first learned about the IPG model while enrolled in the Joint Doctoral Special Education Program at the University of California, Berkeley with San Francisco State University. A study by Yang, Wolfberg, Wu and Whu appears in a special issue on play in Autism: The International Journal of Research and Practice (December 2003). Yang, Wolfberg, Chang, Hueylin and Ro presented a second study at the International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR) in 2004.

San Francisco Schools-Afterschool Programs
San Francisco, California

We have a long and estalbsihed tradition of collaboration with the San Francisco Unified School District, the birthplace of the IPG model. In 2001-2003, staff received intentisve training and supervision to carry out IPGs in 12 school dites. Our current efforts are focused on carrying out afterschool IPG programs for children throughout the SF Bay Area while concurrently conducting research with a grant from Autism Speaks. We are presently partnering with Grattan and Sunset Elementary Schools and their respective afterschool programs to carry out IPGs.

San Jose State University Pediatric Occupational Therapy Clinic
San Jose, California

Following the work of DPK, Pamela Richardson, Ph.D, OTR/L coordinates this clinic, which offers IPGs with Sensory Integration therapy. The sessions are led by OT graduate students under Dr. Richardson's supervision. Approximately 10-12 children ages 3-8 years are supported each semester. Expert players (typical children) include siblings of novice players (children with autism) that attend the clinic. Novice players receive 25 minutes of individual sensory integration intervention followed by a 30 minute IPG. Data collection is ongoing; several case studies have been completed to date.

Willow River Elementary
Hudson School District, Wisconsin

Tara Tuchel, MS,CCC-SLP has been with the Hudson School District for 11 years where she has been widely recognized for her model IPG program. She is also an instructor at the University of Wisconsin, River Falls. Her many accomplishments are featured in Wolfberg's book, Peer Play and the Autism Spectrum: The Art of Guiding Children’s Peer Socialization and Imagination. Tara is co-author (with fifth grade student, Jamie Lowell) of the highly acclaimed book, My Best Friend Will, which features the friendship between a novice and expert player that blossomed while participating in IPGs together.

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