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Let's Play!

Did you know play incorporates various skills and helps autistic people learn in their natural environment?

In fact, there are different types of play:

By engaging in play, it helps autistic people out with their friendships. Not only that, play helps autistic people develop social interactions with others cooperatively and competitively; communicate needs and wants; strategize for social situations; interpret intentions of others; taking turns with people; bond with caregivers; increase self-advocacy; develop creativity; and learn to respect and have empathy for others. In addition, play helps alleviate anxiety for autistic people. Now do you want to know ways to help autistic people develop skills through play?

There are a couple of approaches: direct and indirect play.

  1. Direct play involves an RBT, behavior analyst, teacher, parent, etc., selecting specific toys and activities ahead of time. Throughout the play session, they will prompt or initiate situations to purposefully attempt to steer your autistic child/student/client to the pre-planned lesson, discussing problems and solutions together.

  2. Indirect play involves a more unstructured type of play and encourages your autistic child/student/client to lead. An RBT, behavior analyst, teacher, parent, etc., remains flexible, leaving your autistic child/student/client to guide themself during playtime. This allows people an in-depth approach at how an autistic handles situations in a natural environment, what challenges they struggles with, and how they works to solve challenges on their own.

Did you know Floortime play has been used in ABA therapy sessions?

This type of play involves the child, parent, and RBT and/or behavior analyst all working and playing together. Since autistic children/students/clients often have difficulty expressing themselves in the world, floor time provides an opportunity for people to join the world on their autistic child/student/client's level. Floortime consists of both direct and indirect play approaches, allowing your autistic child/student/client to experience the perfect blend of independence and structure during the session. Autistic people are working on various skills, such as functional communication training (FCT), problem-solving by overcoming challenges, self-regulation techniques, social interactions, etc. All in all, play can help autistic grow in various areas of life.

How do you teach an autistic individual to play? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section!


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