Posts Tagged ‘on the autism spectrum’

Autism and play in preschool children

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

In a study of preschool children with autism spectrum disorder it was found that this set of children were disadvantaged in the way they play.

Characteristically preschool children with autism spectrum disorder find it difficult to play as a normally developing child would. This lack of play skills can aggravate the child’s social isolation from their peers, and only underline their differences from other children.

So what is play?

  • Play should be fun and enjoyable.
  • Play should have no set goals imposed on it from outside influences; it should be imaginative and sometimes impulsive.
  • play should be spontaneous and voluntary
  • play should involve some kind of active involvement on the part of the player
  • play can be solitary or enjoyed with friends

The Development of play

Children’s play should go through a number of developmental stages

  • Sensory motor play, stimulation from objects, for example a baby gym.
  • exploratory and manipulative play, for example Lego
  • physical play including rough and tumble
  • social play, playing with their peers, playground play
  • pretend play or make believe

Why do children need to play?

Play allows our children to learn new skills and practice them in safe supportive surroundings.

Sensory motor play teaches babies and young infants about their own bodies and about objects in their immediate surroundings. The bright colored toys stimulate the babies mind and he/she will reach out to grab and explore the toy.

Manipulative and exploratory play teaches older infants about various objects, what they do; sound like, how they react together and how they influence the world they are living in.

Physical play, rough and tumble play, teaches toddlers and pre-school children some gross motor skills, which will provide them with the experiences of whole body interaction with others.

Social play is vast right from the mother and baby interactions to children’s make believe play, for example, playing mummy’s and daddy’s, which teaches children about social relationships in the world they live in.

Typically the autistic child on the other hand likes repetition and things to stay the same, and may display stereotypical, repetitive and stimming behaviors, mostly their play will be solitary.

Preferring their own company to that of others, an autistic child will find interactive, make believe play strange and may not understand the reasons for this kind of play.

So how do you help your Autistic child play?

One method it through direct teaching, typically children on the autism spectrum do not learn play skills naturally and like social and communication skills direct teaching is often needed.

One method of direct teaching for children on the autism spectrum is the use of social stories for autistic children.

Significantly social stories for autistic children can be implemented to help teach and re-enforce play skills and other skills the child with autism struggles with.

Social stories are short explanations using visual images, much like a comic script to detail the skill or situation from the child’s own point of view and in a manner that they will understand.

Social stories for autistic children follow set patterns, are generally easy to use and implement need no training to use and will be editable making them ideal for all.

To view and learn more about how social stories visit:

Using social stories to teach social skills to kids with ASD

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Commonly children on the autism spectrum HAVE difficulties WITH AND IN social situations.

The social awareness skills we take for granted – the ability to “read” peoples body and facial expression ARE NOT skills that children on the autism spectrum learn naturally.

A lack of social awareness skills makes it difficult for these children to make and keep friends and can lead to social isolation.

However, using social stories to teach social skills to kids with ASD has proven effective. The social story is typically visual, and as we know the majority of children on the autism spectrum are indeed visual thinkers and learners.

Therefore this type of teaching aid is going to work and give better results.

The social skills story can be adapted to suit all ages and abilities and there is NO formal training needed to be able to use this autism resource.

Introducing social stories

Typically using social stories to teach social skills to kids with ASD is beneficial in all area of social awareness skills teaching for example: making friends, sharing, calming down, Visiting the Dentist and so on…

·         The social story uses first person text and visual images to describe the skill or situation from the child’s own perspective

·         The social story breaks the situation/skill down into smaller easier to understand sections

·         The social skills story acts like a visual plan or framework

·         The social skills story answers the “wh” questions – who, what. why, when and where

·         The social story also explains “HOW”

·         Social stories should aim to also give an insight into the thoughts, feelings and emotions of others

·         Social stories should offer possible outcomes

For the vast majority of kids with autis,  social awareness skills ARE very difficult to learn and direct teaching is generally needed, this is what the social skills story WILL DO!

Parents and teachers report success in teaching social awareness skills and a drop in communication difficulties once social skills stories have been introduced.

To learn more about how social stories work and gain immediate access to 100 social skills stories downloads visit: