Research suggests that preschool autistic children do not develop play in the same way as a normally developing youngster.
Preschool autistic children do not interact in the same way as a normally developing child and are not as likely to want to explore their environment.
What is autism?
Autism is a disorder affecting the brain- some of the symptoms of autism are:
Imagination and Interaction deficits.
So how does this affect preschool autistic children play?
To begin understanding autism play, we first should look at what is meant by playâ€¦
Play is spontaneous
Play is imaginative
Play should be fun and enjoyable
Play involves an active role by the person playing
Play can be solitary or with another person
“Preschool autistic children and what is autism”
So how will the symptoms of autism affect the act of play in autistic children?
In normally developing children the use pf play helps with development, for example:
Play has various stages…
Sensory stimulation a baby stimulated and attracted for example to a cot mobile or baby gym.
Exploratory play a youngster playing with Lego, or a cardboard box even. This is how a child begins interacting with their environment. With autistic children this inquisitiveness is missing.
Physical play this includes actually touching others for example, rough and tumble, football and interactive pretend play.
Social play this includes wanting to play with other children, for example on the playground, at the park etc.
Pretend play Make believe play, all normally developing children will engage in pretend play, this is part of development.
Play is a natural process a normally developing child goes through. It helps them explore their thoughts, feelings and interact with their peers and their environment.
In autistic children the need to play and be inquisitive is missing
Autistic children prefer their own company and lack interest in their environment; they preferrepetition to imagination and compulsive play.
Preschool autistic children may not stimulated by a bright colored cot mobile, or play gym, do not want to engage in pretend or rough and tumble play. Lack the inquisitiveness for exploratory play and do not understand why or how to engage in pretend play.
When preschool autistic children begin preschool the differences in behaviors of a normally developing and an autistic child can become apparent.
There are ways as a preschool teacher or parent you can help the autistic child manage their behaviors and experiences at preschool by implementing autism social storiesâ€¦
Research suggest autistic children respond well to autism social stories and therefore they can be introduced into daily and preschool lives affectively-giving the preschool autistic child clear coping mechanisms and instructions on how to interact with others and perform everyday tasks.
For example how to “pretend play”, “say hi”, “share toys” or perform tasks such as tooth brushing, visiting the doctor, starting preschool and so on…
Autism social stories are available in printable format making sharing them with all responsible in your autistic childâ€™s care easy.
Implementing autism social stories is easy and effective. Research shows autism social stories are widely used with positive affects and results.
For immediate downloads visit one of these main autism sites:
Social Stories are an excellent autism resource for teaching and re-enforcing vital social skills to people with autism and other disabilities on the spectrum.
Autism social skills stories give the autistic person accurate information about any situation that maybe struggling with, find confusing, or stressful.
The social skills story will describe in detail the situation and give focus to a few key points: these are the important social cues
For example the social skills story will give information about the event, and the reactions the individual might expect to occur in the situation. Plus it will give the actions and reactions that might be expected of them, and why.
The goal of autism social skills stories is to increase the autistic persons understanding of events and situations, therefore making them more comfortable in the situation, as well as then suggesting some possibly appropriate responses to the situation.
An individual with autism is believed to lack the theory of mind or mind read, they do not understand or are unable to read body language or facial expressions.
With autism a person lacks any understanding that others have their own thoughts, feelings, plans, and points of view. This inevitably can lead to stress and confusion.
An excellent autism resource for helping autistic people gain vital social skills is the use of autism social Stories. Which address the theory of mind deficit by providing the autistic person with some insight into the emotions, thoughts, feelings and behaviors of those around them.
The social skills story provides information in a well structured and consistent manner. This makes them excellent autism resource for kids with autism.
Kids with autism are visual learners, therefore a social story with appropriate images and pictures can prove worth its weight in gold!
Especially when dealing with social skills the autistic child is struggling to understand like toileting, potty training etc. the visual images and text in the social story can provide the vital social skills information needed.
Social Storiesgive the autistic child direct contact with the appropriate social skills information, through pictures and text as opposed to speech or observation, which appears to be a noticeable weakness in autism and aspergers syndrome.
To view an example autism social skills story and download autism social skills stories for your autistic child or young personâ€¦visit us immediately at:
Have you ever stopped to consider how often you use visual supports during the day? How about when you look at a TV Guide, use a recipe, look at a mapâ€¦
All of these are visual supports. Yes of cause we could live without visual supports, but just consider how limited our lives would beâ€¦no internet, newspapers, maps etc!
A similar rule applies to autism, autistic people also need visual supports, and pretty similar to the visual supports we ourselves use â€œeverydayâ€.
Visual supports in autism include visual timetables, autism social stories, communication systems, PECS, flashcards and other visual supports used for autistic coping strategies.
As we are already aware autistic children and people think and learn visually.
Therefore, it is essential that â€œvisual supports in autismâ€, is given great consideration. Autistic people have difficulties with communication, and sometimes will lack the ability to speak, or their language may be restricted.
Which in itself can cause problems, but when this is coupled with their lack of social awareness also, it can prove to be a recipe for social mistakes.
Social mistakes can cause embarrassment and stress, which can lead to anxiety and sometimes trigger violent or aggressive outburst, which then can become a vicious circle.
One excellent tool is the use of autism social stories. Social Stories can be used for teaching social skills to children with autism and related disabilities.
Social skill stories presentÂ appropriate social behaviors for situations, which include answers to questions the autistic person will need to know to interact appropriately with othersâ€¦for example, answers to who, what, where, when, and why.
Autism social stories can provide an individual with accurate information about those situations they may find difficult or confusing.
The social story will describe the situation in detail and focus is given to a few key points. These are the social cuesâ€¦the events and reactions the individual may expect in the situation, the actions and reactions that might be expected of them, and why.
Using Autism social stories will increase your childâ€™s understanding of why things happen and why they are expected to act in certain ways or do certain things, like washing their teeth, or using public toilets.
You can see an example social story at www.autismsocialstories.com Studies have shown autistic people respond well to social stories. Visually social stories can be pictorially rich and colorful-giving the autistic person clear social cues and prompts for managing and understanding the situation, task, event or activity.
Immediately download and begin using appropriate visual supports in autism such as autism social stories, to help your autistic child, teen or adult find appropriate coping strategies for all situations they find stressful, confusing or difficult.
To view an example social story and immediately download appropriate autism social stories visit us at:
There are more children now being diagnosed autistic than ever before.
Autistic children are all different; they will have different degrees of severity, and different needâ€™s.
However they will all have certain things in common like:
Social interaction problems
Plus some autistic children are especially sensitive to their environment. Noise, bright colors, strong smells, can all cause stress and even real physical pain.
In a school environment other pupils may well consider an autistic child â€œoddâ€
One thing a teacher needâ€™s to keep in mind is that each autistic child will react in different ways. If you have an autistic child beginning in your class it may help you to speak with the childâ€™s classroom helper, or assistant, before they start in your class. If there is no helper to speak with, then making time to talk to the childâ€™s parents will be a good idea.
You need to establish from them exactly which conditions are most conducive to learning and good behavior. In addition, you can help by:
Having a clear structure to the day/lesson, with a visual timetable displayed to show what is going to happen.
Minimize any changes to routine by always telling the autistic child in advance, and possible help them by introducing a social story to help them cope with the change and be prepared for it.
Take all autism classroom accommodations into account by setting up a quiet place â€œTime outâ€ area for the autistic child to use, as and when appropriate.
Try and keep in mind an autistic child may not understand facial expression and figurative language, â€œtheory of mindâ€ Explain everything clearly and concisely.
Remember that you need to include the child by using their name they may not understand that â€˜everyoneâ€™ includes them.
Use visual signs/symbols to back up verbal and written instructions.
Using autism social stories preferably printable ones the child can carry with them, to teach about social interaction and appropriate behaviors for different situations.
Be clear and firm but gentle about behavior and apply the school rules with consistency. Remember autistic children need repetition and things to stay the same.
You can also help support an autistic child by talking to other memberâ€™s of staff and explain what autism is and how the behavior of an autistic child will differ from that of a normally developing child.
It will also be a good idea to explain to the other children in the class what autism is and how they can help support the autistic child by being patient and understanding.
You may also want to consider setting up a buddy system as autistic children find making and sustaining friendships difficult and can be at time easy targets for bullies.
A good source of autism social stories to help with the problems faced by autistic children, their parents, carerâ€™s and educators can be found at:
Children with autism need to be taught social skills directly, as they do not easily pick up on these skills from their environment like a normally developing child will, children with autism tend not to pick up on social skills and are unable to understand body language or facial expressions, which makes interpreting the thoughts and feelings of otherâ€™s an impossible task.
It is very important to think about how you will help your child understand the need for certain social skills.
For example if you intend your autistic child to be included in main stream education a certain amount of social skills is important. The ability to wait your turn in class to ask a question, manners, good eating habits and the ability to toilet themselves appropriately for their age.
Children with Autism and Asperger Syndrome are often capable of working at the same level as their peerâ€™s; but are at risk of not being included in a classroom because of behavioral issues or poorly developed social skills.
Success in teaching social skills to the autistic child can increase self-confidence and lead to positive result in other areas of the classroom and life in general for an autistic child.
A good social story will focus on a particular social situation or interaction. A trip to the dentist, moving school, going shopping, or recess - these are all good examples of situations a social story might focus on.
To learn more about autism social stories and how they can be used for teaching social skills to autistic children visit us at
Toilet trainingÂ can be difficult, but when your child is autistic it can be even harder, autism and going to the bathroom can be a real problem.
Teaching new skills to children with autism/aspergersÂ work best when the steps to the task are organized into simple pieces.Â Teaching this new skill to an autistic/asperger child must be consistent becoming repetitive andÂ predictable to the child in terms of rewards and consequences.
In order for toilet training to be successful, the child must move from depending on reminders (timed trips to the bathroom) to recognizing the signs of a full bladder and taking the necessary actions him/herself.
Learning to use the toilet is part of socialization….
Most children enjoy the recognition they receive from their parents and otherÂ adults when they begin usingÂ the toilet as well as the rewards that come their way.
However, young children with autism have trouble applying the same social interaction reason to going to the bathroom.Â They do not like changing set routines and behaviors and may alsoÂ not yetÂ be aware of, or able to control their bodies.
Children with autism respond well to repetition….Social stories act as a tool in re-enforcing this, and teaching the autistic child the new skill.
The autism socialÂ story can be read as often as needed and will give your autistic child the repetition that is needed when trying to teach a new skill as well being an effective tool forÂ re-enforce an already learnt skill.
Visit us for a comprehensive list of social skill stories for autistic children as well as teens and adults.