Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Research Paper

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Kelly Elliott

Second Advisor

Carrie Landin

Third Advisor

Caren Rhodes-Doudna


Parental mental health, Autism spectrum disorder, Developmental delays, Child development, Support groups, Playgroups, Psychoeducation


WePlay! Denver, a collaboration between the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Professional Psychology and the Children’s Museum of Denver, Marsico Campus, began providing caregiver-infant playgroups to the community in 2019. WePlay! and Nosotros Jugamos, the English and Spanish-speaking groups, teach caregivers with young children about play-based exploration, provide psychoeducation, and offer resources. Qualitative data from WePlay! Denver’s initial groups and input from the WePlay! Denver team emphasized interest in expanding WePlay! to include families with children of varying developmental stages and who have specific developmental needs and considerations (Gross et al., 2021), such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD). ASD is a neurodevelopmental disorder consisting of social communication and social interaction deficits and restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities. This paper adapts the recently published WePlay! Denver curriculum (Gross, 2023) to caregivers of young children who have early signs of ASD, with a new group entitled WeStart2Play.

Copyright Date


Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Louisa A. Cahn-Gambino


Received from author

File Format



English (eng)


45 pgs

File Size

343 KB