Autism Collaborative Centers of Excellence

Therapeutic Tabletop Role Playing Groups

Therapeutic Tabletop Role Playing Groups (TTRPG)

Use role playing games as therapeutic and clinical practice to benefit the personal growth, social development, and self-advocacy skills of individuals and families.

Our free, grant-funded groups are available via virtual platform and an in-person group in Hazleton for individual ages 10 to adults with autism and related social or communication impairments.


Therapeutic Table-Top Role-Playing Project

As a result of the ACCE Collaborative, Hope Enterprises, Inc., Children’s Service Center, Misericordia University, and Goodwill Industries of NEPA have been engaged in a two- year pilot project designed to improve social communication skills for persons with autism and other developmental disabilities. The Therapeutic Tabletop Role- Playing Project is a research based therapeutic intervention designed to support social communication, critical thinking, problem solving and self-regulation skills. 


More about the TTRPG and Outcomes

Deficits in social communication significantly impairs an individual’s ability to be successful in everyday living. In general, social skills are the rules, customs and non-verbal social cues and rules that guide our behavior with other people. Traditional therapy models have limited success in teaching social skills, reducing social anxiety and supporting ASD persons integrating into their chosen community.

 It is well established within the therapeutic and psychological industries that role-playing, sans the gaming aspect, can be a very powerful therapeutic tool (Tietel). There are already a variety of well-established therapeutic role-playing-related modalities including Gestalt (Perls) and psychodrama (Bell). An integral part of the group therapy is the use of Tabletop Role Playing Games, such as Dungeons and Dragons. Therapeutic Tabletop Role Playing Group uses tabletop role playing games to help treat behavioral and mental health issues. The role-playing games are used therapeutically to allow a trained therapist to design adventurers and use the simplicity and relaxed atmosphere of a game to provide guidance, feedback, support, and natural consequences to support social communication. The rules provide a steady source of comfort also as the world that the client is playing in has boundaries. This allows the situations to have limited range of consequences to allow the player to be able to feel safe again exploring their sensitive material.  It is play with purpose and direction.

This modality uses well established techniques from narrative, drama, play and group therapy to work on new skills. As player skills grow with a goal of increasing social networks, the players are encouraged to attend other gaming locations using the skills developed in the game to establish and develop unique and independent social connections. This practice promotes further development of social communication and community inclusion. 



  • Have provided 40 hours of intensive training to 16 clinicians and game masters across a broad geographic region. The training is research based and reflects evidence-based care for ASD persons.
  • Have created six TTRPG groups serving 44 adolescents and young adults with ASD and/or developmental disabilities.
  • Provide bi-monthly clinical meeting for all clinicians in the project.
  • Provide weekly supervision meetings for all game masters.
  • Clinicians implement and score standardized assessments to measure social skill development for participants in project.


TTRPG Brochure


Virtual and In-Person Group Available:

  • Free, grant-funded groups are available via a virtual platform and an in-person group in Hazleton. 
  • Ages 10 to adult with autism and/or related social or communication impairments.

Contact us to learn more:

Hazleton Autism Family Support Hub

570-861-8311 or