Posts Tagged ‘infants with autism’

Improve play skills in children with autism

Friday, April 16th, 2010

Play is believed to be an essential element in the development of any child. It is believed that through spontaneous play and exploratory play children begin to make sense of the world around them.


In preschool infants with autism the ability to learn through play is missing, this is common in autism and mainly due to the child’s autistic social skills deficits.


Generally most children with autism spectrum disorder have issues with social interactions, due mainly to social skills deficits which are present in all autistic individuals.


For parents of children with autism, “play” may look very different to that of a typically developing child.


An example of “play” that may be presented by an autistic infant could be, the child who loves cars, but the only thing he really enjoys doing with the cars is spinning the wheels. Or maybe your autistic infant loves Lego, but all he really does is line up or sort the Lego into colours.


Research suggests that through play children learn social skills such as sharing, cooperation and taking turns. It is also believed that through play children learn social and communication skills, build friendships and self-esteem.


Therefore parents of children with autism wanting to improve the play skills in their autistic infant, can benefit from using autistic tools and methods that help with teaching and improving social and communication skills. For example it is widely believed that visual supports such as visual support cards, PECS and social stories have great benefits.


For many parents with preschool infants with autism social stories are already a good resource. Social stories are used as a visual framework for any skill or behaviour that needs improving or mastering such as “play skills”

A social story is a short visual representation that uses first person language and follows a specific formula. Social stories were first developed by therapist Carol Gray to help her communicate with the children she was working with.


Since then social stories have evolved and are now widely used as a tool to help parents and teachers teach and improve social and communication skills in children with autism spectrum disorder.


A social story can be quickly and easily adapted to suit and child, a social story should be written by parents or professionals that have been properly trained to write them.


To find out how social stories can help improve play skills in children with autism spectrum disorder as well as how to implement and use social stories with preschool infants with autism visit:

Alternatively social stories for children with autism can be found at: