Have you completed the Way to Play workshop?

About Us

The Way to Play one-day workshop is an introduction to playing withan autistic child. Playing with autistic children can sometimes feel bewildering and a challenging experience. The Way to Play workshop provides simple, easy to use strategies to begin playing joyously together.

Way to Play is an Autism New Zealand workshop

Participants will learn to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the importance of play for a young autistic child.
  • Use simple play strategies such as pretend play, playing with toys and being a guide.
  • Identify methods of play such as, pattern, memory, variation and interrupting.
  • Set play goals.
  • Identify their role in playing with a young child.
  • Identify the style of play that best suits the child.

Your Way to Play Coaches

neil about
Neil Stuart,
Autism New Zealand Training & Education Director

Neil has over 20 years experience working with autistic children. He has developed a large number of education and training programmes, including Way to Play, Framework for Autism in New Zealand (FANZ), Tilting the Seesaw, and many more. Neil also has considerable experience working with autistic children in the mainstream classroom both in New Zealand and in the United Kingdom. This has included managing satellite classes in mainstream schools and advising schools on how best to include autistic pupils.


tanya about
Tanya Blakey,
Autism new zealand Educator

Tanya is a mother of two daughters, one of whom is on the Autism Spectrum. She is an EarlyBird Trainer and has worked as a Teacher Aide in a Special School. Tanya is a joint contributor and developer of the Autism New Zealand suite of education programmes and travels the country delivering them. Her valuable experience living with someone with Autism provides excellent insight and adds a realistic, down-to-earth parent perspective to our programmes.

Jo Charman

Jo Charman,


Jo Charman joined the Way to Play team in 2018 and is in her 12th year at Autism New Zealand. As one of Autism NZ’s National Education team, Jo’s mahi involves travelling the country presenting and facilitating the organisations suite of programmes and is involved with the ongoing development of new and existing programmes. She is an informative and motivated presenter who is deeply passionate about sharing her knowledge of autism. Recognised nationally for their work, Jo and Tanya Blakey (National Educator) were guest keynote speakers at an International Inclusive Education Conference in Malaysia where they were able to share the Way to Play programme with an international audience. Jo is trained as a facilitator in ‘Framework for Autism’, ‘Way to Play’ (both as facilitator and as a play coach), ‘Tilting the Seesaw’ and is currently training to become a registered Earlybird Trainer. Her work in schools, Te Kohanga Reo and early childcare settings is focused on coaching and promoting the importance of quality interpersonal engagement and learning through play. As a mother of two boys, one of which was diagnosed with autism at five years old, she brings deep insight and experience raising a neurodiverse child making her very relatable to both teachers and whanau. Jo is committed to listening to the Autistic community and working in a ‘nothing about me without me’ practice.

Way to Play is specifically designed to introduce practical strategies so you can play in fun and exciting ways together.

For more information and to register for the Way to Play one-day workshop, visit our website or contact:

Email: training@autismnz.org.nz