(Closed) Playing with Autistic Kids

posted 7 years ago in Wellness
Post # 3
Member
82 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

From experience, children with autism (and all children in general) have specific likes and dislikes and should be noted to you since you are interacting with them one on one. Their main caregiver could fill you in on what these children enjoy most, and more importantly, what they are turned off by. Every child in every situation is different.

Anyway – if this overall information isn’t given to you, I would use the materials that are displayed in the classroom, and follow the lead of the child and pick up on their cues. In general, give a lot of space, tell them who you are etc. You could also offer a high give or some other non-verbal communication greeting. The child may seem to ignore you because they aren’t looking directly at you, but they are still aware of your presence. You could ask questions, but may not get responses. You could engage in play yourself near the child and see what happens if they don’t respond to you with just verbal communication.

Again, all children and all situations are different so I’m just speaking from my own experience! Good luck!

 

Edit: I just reread your post re: not wanting to play witht the toys offered. Try warming the children up to you before getting them to play with you. You are a new person to them, so that could be an issue. Talk with them, interact, high five, shake hands, etc.

Post # 4
Member
2440 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2012

Children with autism don’t usually initiate or engage in interactive play, so you have to direct a lot of the play.  You typically have to come up with the ideas and invite the child to play and guide them with what to do next. What ages are the children? Are they verbal? If they are verbal you can begin asking simple yes/no questions about things that may interest a child that age. Once you find something the child seems interested in, run with it.  If you’re playing a board game work on taking turns, “ok it’s your turn” “now my turn”, it takes a lot of work but eventually they will get the rhythm of turn taking during a short game.  Make sure the toys are visually appealing.  I’m not sure what they’re trying to observe, the autistic like behaviors or if they’re trying to observe if the student can engage in appropriate play. That would make a difference in how much you prompt/guide the student and what types of toys to present the student with.

Post # 5
Member
2440 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2012

Ok and don’t hate me, but on a side note, it is usually preferred to refer to the kids as children with autism vs. autistic kids, it’s recognizing them as children first and not their disability.  Please don’t hate me for saying that but I had a parent totally chew out a teacher for saying “your autistic son…”

Post # 6
Member
82 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

@redhead46: Agreed, I think we tried to correct that through example.

Post # 7
Member
2195 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

@redhead46: that’s definitely something professionals, and parents alike, need to keep in mind.

I am a speech pathologist and work primarily with children with Autsim. Parallel play is definitely difficulty for these children (in general) and using a Milieu approach (using/discussing what they are already doing) may be helpful. Also, find out what each childs’ preferred toy/topic is prior to playing with him/her, it will help engage more.

Post # 9
Member
2440 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2012

Here are two resources that have some information regarding play and different types of activities and ways to engage a low functioning child. It really does go back to finding the activity that the child prefers.  If they are trying to see the problem behavior, that may be why they are limiting the toys available.  I really would just use what is available and continue to try and engage the student.  Make sure you are describing and showing what you are doing with the toy and then offer it to the child to see if they will play with it.  if not, continue to play with it, and ask again if they would like to play with it.  Put the toys in close proximity/eye level with the child so they know what is available.  And it can be really frustrating to try to get the child to engage but you just keep offering and attempting to play with the child (they may be trying to observe if the child with engage or play, which the child might not do).

http://www.telusplanet.net/public/nremus/play.htm

http://www.ehow.com/info_7853353_activities-do-nonverbal-kids.html

Post # 11
Member
2496 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: January 1991

I have found social stories to be incredibly helpful in working with a few children with autism as a TSS!  They’re little stories written with the child’s name about what’s going on in their life that day.  For example…

Today Johnny Smith gets to play with a new friend!  Miss Otter came to his classroom and they played with his favorite toys.  Miss Otter knows that this game is one of Johnny’s favorites and Johnny showed Miss Otter how to play!  They had fun!  And so forth….

They’re really helpful to help prepare the child for whatever activity you’re going to do so they know what to expect.  But, they also help the child realize that you understand them and care about them.  It’s difficult or impossible for them to verbalize their thoughts and feelings, so social stories are a way for you to do that for them in a way.  Plus it’s fun!

You could always write your own and illustrate it in black and white, then let them color it if they like crayons as a preferred toy.  I don’t know if that will be helpful with your situation because you may not be allowed to read them to the kids if they are supposed to play with their preferred toys, but you could always verbalize those same types of thoughts to them during play!

Beyond that, using lots of positve praise and being VERY literal will help.  Autism causes kids to only be able to think in their own world, so they need very specific, literal directions.  Some kids won’t even line up at the door if you say “everyone line up” because their name isn’t Everyone. 🙂  So, just be as specific and literal as possible!

I just went to a professional development presentation on autism yesterday!  The kids just steal my heart!! 🙂

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