Posts Tagged ‘play skills in children with autism’

Teaching a child with ASD play skills

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

Kids with autism find play skills and social interaction with peers extremely difficult. 


This is due to their social skills deficits, which are common to all individuals with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), the degree of social skills deficits will depend on each individual, no two children will ever be the same.


A child on the autism range will undoubtedly have social skills deficits in three main areas of development, social interactions, communication both verbal and nonverbal and imagination skills.


Because of the child’s rigidity of thought and behaviour, and limited imagination or imaginative play skills, the child on the autism range may carry out ritualistic actions. For example lining up their Lego or sorting it into colours rather than playing with it.


A child on the autism range may focus upon minor details, for example rather than play with the toy car they may be obsessed with the wheel only and continuously spin it, rather than play with the whole car.


Plus with limited verbal and non-verbal communication skills the child with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) will lack the ability to converse naturally and may misunderstand the emotions, gestures, or ideas of others, and have difficulties understanding wit, humour and pretend play talk.


Kids with autism tend to be very literal, making pretend or imaginative play difficult for them to join in with or understand.


However there are techniques available that help build and promote play skills in children with autism.


One such technique is the use of social skills stories these can be adapted to suit individual’s needs, can be printed and used almost everywhere making them ideal in the home, school and out and about.


Consequently teaching a child with ASD play skills can be initiated using social skills stories as a means of showing the child with ASD how and why we play. By answering the “wh” questions: who, where, why, when and what as well as giving an insight into the thoughts, feelings and emotions of others. The social skills story acts like a role model or visual plan when teaching a child with ASD play skills by detailing the skill and breaking it down into small pieces.


Using visual images and first person text the social skills story can help the child with ASD better understand the skill or behaviour, therefore making them more comfortable with and in the situation, reducing stress and un-necessary anxiety.


To find appropriate social skills stories that help teach play skills as well as other social and communication skills and behaviours visit:

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: