_Replays_ has a straightforward central idea: take some ideas from play therapy (hamming it up, using dolls/puppets/figurines as proxies all in the service of helping a child figure out how to deal with a difficult situation) and some ideas from desensitization and sort of merged them into a framework for helping kids who have a lot of communication and social development issues (and possibly other issues as well). The central problem in using play therapy ideas with kids on the spectrum is that in general, their pretend play is limited to nonexistent, which would seem to make this a nonstarter. Within some constraints, however, Levine and Chedd claim that it works, and I am inclined to believe them. A lot of _Replays_ is devoted to describing how to use this framework in a variety of cases; theory and limits and how it interacts with other therapies such as RDI, ABA, SCERTS (hey, first time I heard of it, too), Floortime/DIR, etc. consumes the rest of this slim book (which I bought on the kindle! Yay!).
Levine is a smart, intuitive therapist with a great sense of humor who is open to a lot of strategies and approaches. This comes through in the text. It was a quick read, and while most of what I've done with it is more the quick form than the extended form, it has been useful. If nothing else, Levine and Chedd are a great reminder that a huge chunk of helping anyone at all is making sure they feel like they've been heard, and their feelings are taken seriously.
While A. and I were waiting for the train in StoryLand (we'd just missed the previous one, so it was a longish wait), we went into the candy and toy shop next to the stop and picked out a plastic train whistle (very cool -- it does a 3 note chord) and a Gund monkey. Monkey turned out to be quite helpful for the rest of the trip, doing all kinds of things with the kids, including a fair amount of misbehavior. It got to the point where A. wouldn't get in the stroller to leave unless we brought monkey with us. I'm too aspie to think to do this very, very normal kind of play, but _Replays_ reminded me of all the times I've seen other parents and caregivers do it, and explained enough of the "rules" to give me some repertoire. Lots of fun!
This is the first book about autism spectrum stuff that I truly enjoyed reading.