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Teaching Play Skills
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Why is play important?  Teaching children with autism is important.

• Play is a child’s “work”. It’s what they do in order to learn about their world.
• Play allows a child to learn and practice new skills in all areas.
• Play provides a vehicle to interact with people and objects in their environment.
• Play promotes independence during “down time”.
• Play builds confidence and competency.
• Learning how to play appropriately with toys can replace non-functional play.
• Most important, IT’S FUN!!!

How does play differ for a child with a developmental disorder? - Remember, play differs for them.

Children without a developmental disorder:

- Voluntary
- Spontaneous
- Internally Reinforcing
- Flexible
- Creative

Children with a developmental disorder:

- Ritualistic
- Can be Non-Functional
- Repetitive
- Limited interests
- Rigid

Selecting Toys?  Teaching toys for children with autism.

• Pick out toys that are related to your children’s INTERESTS.
• If your child engages in “non functional behavior” choose toys that provide the
same sensory input but in a more appropriate way.
• Choose toys that correspond to your child’s developmental level.

Autism Teaching Tips:

• Don’t be afraid to “change the rules” or use only some of the pieces to simplify
the play in the beginning.

• Remember to teach “one step at a time”. Small steps will lead to BIG gains!

• Program for success! Provide “prompts” as needed in order to ensure that your
child continues to be successful and motivated.

• Structure play time in “small time frames” frequently throughout the day.

• Know when to end a play session!

Written by: Tracey SpiroSpecial Education / Aba Teacher