Autism is a wide spectrum and the common symptoms are difficulties in social skills and communications skills which can be developed through play time. Play is an essential part of a child’s development. Through play children will develop their gross and fine motor skills, language, speech and communication skills, problem solving and social skills.
Having a child with Autism playtime can be effected as the child might find it difficult. This means it might affect their development. Even if children with Autism enjoy playing, they tend to play in a very restrictive manner thus their play may seem to be repetitive.
We need to understand our child’s likings and help them use play time effectively and be able to develop play skills such as exploring their environment, sharing of toys, taking turns, socializing with others. One way of doing such is to help your child is to play with them. It doesn’t matter if the child has a few interests in play, you can use those interests and play along. With these interests can come the introduction of other interests and toys. For example if the child likes to play with a toy animal, you can gradually introduce new toy and activities using the animal toy. Later on the parent can also encourage a play date with the child’s friends. This is a good way to help them socialise, share and be exposed to other games.
Children on the autism spectrum are able to play and want to play but they need our support to be able to gain the skills gained through play and to get the full experience of play time.
Krista Portelli is a health and social work graduate who now works in a school where she supports children with educational needs. She has an interest in inclusion education and wants to pursue her studies and career in inclusion education.