September 28, 2023

UMW Play Lab completes second semester.

 University of Mary Washington hosted a second UMW Play Lab this semester.  At UMW Play Lab, current and pre-service teachers (both undergraduate and graduate) take an elective course where they learn disability characteristics, teaching strategies, and research-based supports for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and related disabilities.  Halfway through the semester, UMW students run the Play Lab which meets for about 7 weeks.  UMW students work 1:1 with the children with disabilities under faculty and community agency supervision.  This semester we had 21 children (with and without disabilities-some are typically developing peers serving as role models) and 19 UMW students running Play Lab.  Our focus this semester has been on the TEACCH program, Handwriting without Tears, and the Model Me Kids Social Skills.  At the end of each session, UMW students train the families in the strategies that have been helpful in working with the children and parents receive resources at the training to help them  support their child at home, school, and in the community.Reactions to the Play Lab have been overwhelmingly supportive and positive.  Play Lab will start again this coming fall after taking a break for summer.  UMW Play Lab is a non-profit organization managed through the UMW Foundation and is coordinated by Dr. Nicole Myers at UMW and Heather DeCou, M.Ed., LPC, of Exceptional Support Services of Fredericksburg.  It currently meets at Helping Hands Pediatric Occupational Therapy.  For more information about the course or to receive an application for a child to participate in Play lab, send an email to

About Brynn Boyer

Brynn Boyer is assistant director of media and public relations and a 2010 graduate of UMW.