Saturday, December 5, 2009

Play Can Broaden a Child's Interests

The mission of this blog and the Autism Games website is to promote play between parents and children with autism.  Children with autism often get stuck on narrow themes and interests and play is a wonderful, happy way to help children broaden those interests.  Below is a section from the Introduction section of the Autism Games Website on this topic.

Here is an example of how to broaden a child's interests using play.  One of our children at the clinic was consumed with elevators and only wanted to play elevator.  Our therapist, Tamara Pogin, did include elevator play, and needed to, or she would not have had any buy-in from this child.  However, she began immediately to add more play ideas to the elevator theme.  Had she not done this she would have spent 45 minutes going into and out of the elevator door, pushing buttons and waiting since this was about all this little person wanted to do.  Tamara would reassure her elevator lover that they would indeed be going to the elevator (a closet in our one level building) but that first all the Beanie Baby Animals would need to be found because they wanted to go to the elevator too.  This kind of delay was quite stressful at the beginning, for her young friend but soon the Hide and Seek game for Beanie Baby animals made sense to her friend and this part of the play was engaging. Each animal was reassured that he or she would be going to ride on an elevator soon!  This reassurance helped sustain the play.  Tamara's play sessions, over time, became a much better mix of various kinds of games and less about the elevator as this child learned to enjoy more activities and toys.  It took patience but it was important for Tamara to guide her young friend into more kinds of play.  A wide mix of different kinds of play allow a child to learn so much more than even the most creative play on a single theme.

1 comment:

Beth Up North said...

This is just the inspiration I need right now! As a spotty but loyal reader, I will once again say THANK YOU for all your work.