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Strategies for Supporting Young Children

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Presentation on theme: "Strategies for Supporting Young Children"— Presentation transcript:

1 Strategies for Supporting Young Children
Proactive Strategies Social Communication Sensory Supplies for this Section: Supplies for the whole workshop (see introduction) Balls or something to toss for “Can I Play” activity Ingersoll DVD Outline: Introduction (slides 1-7, 5 minutes) -Activity – Child Profile (slide 7) Joint Attention (slides 8-15, 20 minutes) Best Way to Teach Social Skills (slides 16-26, 20 minutes) Toy Play (slides 27-35, 30 minutes) -Video (slide 35) (Ingersoll DVD) Play with Peers (slides 36-40, 35 minutes) -Activity – Can I Play? (slide 39) -Activity – Child Profile (slide 40) Key Strategies (slides 41-42, 20 minutes) -Activity – Child Profile (slide 42) How to Measure (slides 43-47, 5 minutes) Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

2 Topics Early Social and Play Skills Joint Attention
Teaching Social Skills Development of Toy Play Play with Peers Closing Thoughts Paraphrase slide Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

3 Early Social and Play Skills
Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

4 A Child Should Be Able to:
Be in close proximity to others Engage (longer and longer) Take turns Imitate actions and sounds Demonstrate joint attention Develop appropriate play And, most importantly, experience the joy of being with others! It is important to consider early social skills that we expect to see in all young children. Paraphrase slide - say that these often become goals. Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

5 What Do We Often See with Young Children with ASD?
“In their own world” Repetitive behavior, including repetitive play Use of motor skills to “interact” with people rather than gaze or verbal communication What do we often see with young children with autism? Young children with ASD often avoid or appear to ignore social initiations by others and have difficulty with initiating interactions on their own. They typically have a very limited repertoire of play skills, instead engaging in repetitive behaviors and play such as spinning wheels, lining up toys, dropping or carrying around an object, opening and closing doors, etc. They may also use their motor skills, often an area of relative strength, to “interact” with others and their environment – examples: -by crashing into others -pulling an adult to the fridge to get a drink -using another person’s hand to play with a toy -climbing up the pantry shelves to get a snack rather than asking for help. Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

6 Assessing Early Social Skills
How does he interact with his family and his environment? What works? How does he get his needs met? What motivates him? What activities/routines are difficult for him? For his family/caregivers? So that is what we generally see – but each child is different. Before any intervention can begin, we MUST spend time OBSERVING the child and interviewing the family and other caregivers. From this, we learn Paraphrase slide This information will help us determine what strategies may be useful for teaching early social skills. Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

7 Activity Go to the Profile and complete Social and Play Skills - Question 1 1. Describe this child’s social and play skill challenges, strengths, and needs. Think about the play and social skill challenges, strengths, and needs of children with ASD. Ask the participants to turn to their social and play skills section of the profile and complete question 1. If time permits: ***Remind participants about the importance of confidentiality and ask a couple of persons to share any insights they gained with the whole group. Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

8 Joint Attention Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

9 Joint Attention When two people: Share interest in an object or event
AND Understand that they are both interested in the same object or event Most young children with autism do not show the skill of Joint Attention. What is Joint Attention? We gave an example of joint attention in the Communication section about what joint attention is and listed it as one of the early goals. As we help a young child with autism develop social, play and communication skills, we want to be thinking specifically about how to develop the skill of joint attention at the same time. Let’s talk a bit more about what it is. Some think that if a child points to something that the pointing itself is showing that he has the skill of joint attention. But we have to look closely at the child’s behavior in order to tell what the pointing means. When a child points to something he wants, the purpose is non-social. Children with autism are generally pretty good at this – they are pretty good at getting what they want and may use pointing and reaching to let us know what it is. Just pointing to show what he wants is not joint attention. When a child points to something, not because he wants it but because he wants to show it to someone else, the purpose is a social one. He has seen something that he thinks is interesting and wants someone else to see it too – he wants to share his interest. This is the joint attention we want to develop and most young children with autism find joint attention challenging. Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

10 Joint Attention Responding Initiating
When we think about joint attention, we think about it two ways: First, the child responds to another person’s bid for joint attention – here is an example: A parent looks at and points to a toy car and says “look at that car!” The child responds by following his parent’s gaze and point, and so looks at the car too. The child then looks back at his parent and then back to the car; this gaze shifting confirms to the child that they are both still interested in the car. -Responding is easier than initiating Here is an example of a child initiating joint attention – child is holding a toy. He uses gestures (points to the toy, holds up the toy) plus gazes (looks at the parent and then back at the toy as if to say to the parent “hey, look at my toy!”) to get the parent to look at the toy too. As the child gets a bit older, he may add a vocalization as an additional way to get the parent’s attention so the parent will look at the toy. Some feel that the initiating of joint attention by the child is more important than responding to another’s bid for joint attention because it shows that the child is socially motivated. Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

11 Strategies to Encourage Joint Attention
Focus on: Play and turn-taking Looking at faces and giving some eye contact Pointing Let’s start with some strategies to develop Joint Attention. One strategy we can use to encourage the development of joint attention is to develop play and turn-taking. When we play and take turns together, we are focusing on and enjoying the same activity together – we are sharing attention. We have already discussed some strategies to address play and turn-taking and will be discussing more but we are going to turn our attention right now to giving eye contact and pointing. Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

12 Strategies to Encourage Joint Attention
Be at the child’s eye level Stand in the child’s line of sight Hold objects up to your face just before giving them to the child Use an animated voice and exaggerated expressions We want to encourage the young child with autism to look at our face and give eye contact. We want to do this because part of having the skill of J.A. is knowing to look at someone’s face to see either what they are interested in or to see if they are sharing attention with you. In addition, faces provide important information. And, in our culture, it is customary to look at people and give eye contact. However, we need to remember that looking at faces can be hard for a person with autism to do so we need to proceed with sensitivity. It can be hard because the face provides a lot of information – so, a child who is looking at our face and also listening to our voice and perhaps also sitting in our laps is having a lot of sensory input to manage all at once. Often, a child may listen best when not looking at us. We want, though, to try to help young children with autism look more at faces and give eye contact when they can. So here are some strategies to try. Bullet one – Just like we mentioned in the communication section of this training, get at a child’s eye level. It can be hard for a child (any child) to look up continually at adults. Try looking up for a while and notice how your eyes and neck get tired. Notice how much easier and how much more comfortable it is to look straight ahead. Bullet two – Instead of expecting a child to always turn to you, get into his line of vision Bullet three – If your child wants to play with a toy, hold it up about two inches from your face, right in front of the bridge of your nose. This can be especially effective with toys that spin or have lights. As your child looks at the toy, he looks also at your face. This is also a great opportunity for you to label the toy. Bullet four – We have already talked about how being animated and enthusiastic can draw a child to us and into an interaction. If our faces are expressive and interesting, the child may look up at us to see what our faces are doing. Sometimes singing helps! Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

13 Strategies to Encourage Joint Attention
Let child wear sunglasses or a visor Try lace Try different positions Try different distances Look in the mirror together Bullet one – Some have found success letting their child wear sunglasses when they are first working on looking at faces and giving eye contact. This may make it easier for a child to look at you. Other parents have used a visor on their child. Bullet two – Some parents have been successful using lace and gradually decreasing the thickness. Bullet three – Try different positions – for example, you might find it is easier for the child to look at you when on his back than it is when sitting. Bullet four – You might find that a child can give you pretty good eye contact from 5 feet away but not at two feet away. Over time, you can work to narrow the distance. Bullet five – It can be easier for some children to give eye contact when they are looking into a mirror with their parent or teacher. This can be a good way to get started. Ask: What other strategies have you tried to encourage eye contact? Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

14 Strategies to Encourage Joint Attention
Shape the child’s finger into a point and have him touch a toy or picture Point to/touch things you are talking about Move your finger from the child’s face to the object and say “look” Tie a ribbon around your pointing finger - or wear a false fingernail - to draw attention to it So we have talked about looking at faces and developing eye contact. Another skill involved in JA is pointing. Bullet One – As you look at books together or play, use those opportunities to point and to shape the child’s index finger into a point and then touch the toy or picture as you label it. Some children with autism are very sensitive to having their hands touched, so taking opportunities throughout the day to rub the child’s hands to desensitize them can help. Bullet Two – Instead of pointing to things across the room when the child is just learning, walk over to what you want to show him and point/touch it as you get his attention. Gradually you can increase your distance. Bullet three – When you want to draw a child’s attention to something, move your index finger from right in front of the child’s face to the object as you say “look.” Bullet four - paraphrase Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

15 Strategies to Encourage Joint Attention
Point using a flashlight in a dark room Point using a foam sword Point to objects in the store as you shop together Offer choices and help him point to the one he wants Bullet one – Sometimes the novelty of a flashlight and a dark room can be a good strategy. As you shine the light on familiar objects in the room, name each one as the light shines on it. Give the child a chance to point with the flashlight too. Bullet two – paraphrase Bullet three – paraphrase Bullet four – Remember we discussed giving choices in the Proactive section – give choices at mealtime, playtime, dressing time – put two objects on the floor or a low table and name each and then ask “what do you want?” If needed, help the child shape his finger into a point to make a choice. Ask: what are other strategies you have used to develop pointing? Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

16 Teaching Social Skills
Now that we have focused a bit on Joint Attention, let’s broaden our scope and think more about social skills. Read slide. Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

17 What We Know Young children: -May benefit from less structured and more naturalistic approaches than what might be used with older children with autism -Learn most easily through play and interaction with the adults who are most important in their lives Young Exceptional Children, Volume 9, Number 3 There is not yet a lot of research that tells us definitive strategies to help a very young child – especially those under three - with autism develop social skills, including joint attention, but we do know from the research….. paraphrase slide Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

18 We Focus on PLAY! Play offers the most natural and the most frequent opportunities for young children to learn and engage. We focus on play! Paraphrase slide Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

19 Things to Remember When You Play
Play more than talk When talking, try to just comment Be animated and enthusiastic, without overwhelming the child Have fun! Here are some important reminders as we work to engage a young child with autism. Bullet One Often in our play with young children, we find ourselves doing a lot of talking, especially if the child we are with is not talking much himself. Many of us have learned from speech therapists about the importance of being a good language model and how helpful it can be to talk, talk, talk! And sometimes we are uncomfortable with silence so we fill in that silence with a lot of conversation. But, for many children with autism, talking can be distracting; it can be hard for a young child with autism to listen and play at the same time. Bullet Two So, we want to play more than we talk and feel comfortable with the silence. When we do talk, we should avoid questioning and commanding. Many of us have a tendency to ask a lot of questions to try to get a conversation going – we say things like: What are you doing? What’s that? Where are you going? We also tend to give a lot of instructions, like: put the block here, don’t put it in that way, give it to me. When we have a young child with autism who is just learning about playing and interacting, it can be very challenging for him to process our questions and directions at the same time he is learning to play with us. Occasional comments, though, can be good. So, let’s say the child is opening and closing a kitchen cabinet door. We sit near him and begin to open and close a door too. From time to time, we can comment. We can say, as the door opens, the word “open” and, as it closes, we can say “close.” Simple, occasional comments that reflect the action can be helpful. Bullets three and four Most importantly, we want to have fun. This can be just as hard for some of us as watching how much we talk! It can be challenging for adults to let go and really join in play. We need to remember, though, that children with autism often respond the best to adults who are animated and enthusiastic – but who are also sensitive to the child’s reaction to our enthusiasm. Every child is different in the amount of excitement they can handle. Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

20 4 Steps for Teaching Social Skills
Let’s look at four important steps for teaching social skills through play. Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

21 Step One: Observe and Match
Observe the child What does he spend his time doing? What are his passions? Then: do what he is doing – match his behavior. Here is how we begin. We observe whatever the child is doing and, as long as it is not dangerous or harmful in any way, we do the same thing. At this step, we are not yet adding any additional activities or expectations to his play; we are simply imitating it. Paraphrase slide We do this step when we are working with very early learners who prefer to spend their time alone. If the child you are working with is comfortable with proximity, you would not need to start at this step. The main focus here is that the child will be OK with someone playing close by – that is the first step in developing play and social skills. So, If the Child Is…Lining up cars, you line up cars nearby Opening and closing a cabinet door, you open and close a cabinet door nearby Rocking back and forth, you rock back and forth nearby Some worry that if we engage in the child’s repetitive behavior, we may cause it to increase. We know from research that this isn’t true. Instead, as we teach play and social skills, the repetitive behavior almost always will begin to decrease over time. Early on, though, we can use these repetitive activities that the young child prefers as the way to get the child to begin to pay attention to us and, soon, to become engaged. An important thing to remember: at the very beginning, as we are working to develop social skills in a very young child, we aren’t worried so much about WHAT we are doing because we are focused instead on being together. Our early goal is to have the child want to be near us and to have our proximity be a positive experience. Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

22 Step Two: Join In Join the child’s play by adding to it!
Once the child is comfortable with us playing in close proximity, we are ready to join in. We join the child’s play by adding something to it, a new toy, sound, or activity, or by gently changing some small aspect of the child’s game to elicit an interaction. So, for example, let’s say he is lining up cars and we have been sitting nearby, lining up our own cars. You can: First, add some of your cars to his line Then, when you add another car, have the line go in a different direction And then, instead of adding a car, add a block to the line Paraphrase this slide. When you join in, you have to be a careful observer. Don’t do too much too soon and back off a bit if he becomes upset. Even an upset reaction is an interaction and should be respected and responded to. Remember that we want the child to be successful in his interactions and for the play to be enjoyable for the child. What you should see as the child becomes more comfortable with you joining in is that he begins to imitate some of the things you are doing. This sets the stage for the development of turn-taking. Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

23 Step Three: Take Turns Do something and then wait
Interpret the smallest of behaviors as a turn – be a careful observer Don’t focus on what the child may be doing wrong Take the same number of turns as the child Now we focus on taking turns. We talked about this in the Communication Section. Just like we have learned in this training that we need to wait after we give a direction or when we want a child to say a word, we also need to wait during our play. Waiting gives the child time to respond. We also need to be careful observers. When a child is just learning to play, we want to watch and interpret even the smallest of behaviors, even something that may not seem intentional, as intentional – to interpret it as a turn. For example, if we have given the child a push on the swing, the child swings for a minute or two, and then the swing stops, and then the child turns back and briefly glances at us, we interpret that as a turn. We interpret that brief glance as him saying “give me another push on the swing.” We then can take our turn by saying “swing” – we are reflecting on what he “said” to us by that glance - and then giving a push. We give just one push and then, when the swing stops again, we look for a sign that the child is taking his turn again and is telling us to give another push. We also want to be reminded again that the most important thing in these early stages is the interaction. We don’t want to worry whether a child is playing correctly with a toy. We have time later on to teach appropriate toy play. Right now, we want the child to engage with us and stay in that engagement as long as possible, no matter what he may be doing (as long as it is not dangerous). Finally, we want to have balance in our interaction. We should take the same number of turns as the child and our turn should be about the same length as the child’s. Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

24 Suppose He Won’t Take a Turn?
Give a signal of some kind, like pointing or making a sound Give a gentle prompt, to help him take his turn Immediately reward him when he takes his turn Paraphrase bullet one Bullet two - A gentle prompt can take the form of saying “your turn” (or use the name of the child – Jack’s turn) or “my turn” – as was mentioned in the Communication section - as a signal of what is to come. Or, if a child tolerates being touched, you can use gentle hand-over-hand or elbow guidance to help him take his turn and learn the motor plan for the activity. This helps to ensure success as he develops turn-taking skills. Bullet three - Immediately reward his efforts when he takes a turn, using very simple language or a silly sound, quickly giving him the toy to take his turn, or whatever you find that he enjoys. Teaching turn-taking often requires that the adult play partner react quickly to continue the game in order to keep the child interested and engaged. Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

25 Step Four: Develop Routines
Remember, routines… Have steps Have steps that are always in the same order Are repeated again and again And each person has a role to play We have talked about developing routines throughout this training. Paraphrase slide Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

26 Developing Routines Use turn-taking to develop the routine
Name the routine Practice the routine throughout the day Bullet One As he is learning to take turns, we want to begin to build routines into the day. Many routines are based on taking turns. We have already talked in previous sections of this training about how routines help with learning. Routines are also a great way to develop play and social skills – like peek-a-boo. Bullet Two Once you have a routine, name it. Emphasize the same word or short phrase each time you initiate the routine. Use repetitive words, such as naming the object or action involved in the routine, and anticipatory phrases, such as “ready, set, go!” to cue the child that the routine is coming and to eventually encourage the child to initiate the routine using language. All of these strategies are useful for building expressive and receptive language as well as play and social skills. Try to develop as many routines throughout the day to help with learning and interaction. Routines can be developed around play and also around daily activities, like getting dressed, taking a bath, and driving to preschool. Remember that routines help a child anticipate what is going to happen, learn how to participate, and then, over time, initiate. Here is an example of a play routine: Child is in your lap and you are rocking him and singing “Rock-a-Bye Baby” You stop singing and rocking He leans and looks briefly at you You sing another line and rock – and then stop He leans and looks at you again – and you sing and rock again. You have established a routine! We often see that young child with autism interact enthusiastically in play activities with us, especially those that involve movement like the rocking example , but they often don’t know how to get the routine started or how to keep it going. Taking the initiative to request is an important skill for children to learn and is challenging for children with autism. So, in our example here, we could name the routine “rock.” For a child who is saying some words, we would put him in our lap, sing a line and rock a bit and then stop our singing and rocking, and wait for him to say “rock” – or, if he is not ready to say the full word, we might be waiting to hear “rrr” or “rah” to request that we continue. We may need to prompt him by saying the word “rock” first. As soon as he says either “rock” or an approximation of “rock,” we say “rock!” with enthusiasm and then begin singing and rocking again. Then we would stop again, to give him another opportunity to practice his requesting skills. If the child is not yet saying words, we might make a picture card that the child could use to request this routine or we might teach him a gesture. Our goal is that the child will really like the routine and will take initiative to request it, using the word “rock” or a picture card or a gesture. ONLY WORKS IF THE CHILD REALLY LOVES TO DO THESE THINGS. Ask audience: what other activities could you make into routines? Peek-a-boo, hide and seek, tickle games, I’m gonna get you Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

27 Development of Toy Play
Now that we have discussed the development of social play, including joint attention, let’s talk specifically about toy play. Young children with autism often have stronger motor skills than social skills and so, unlike children without autism who generally develop social play before toy play, we may see toy play develop first. Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

28 Open-ended Play Purpose is not clear Can be used in a variety of ways
No clear ending or completion When we think about toy play, we want to remember our first goal: to have the child stay with us in the interaction as long as possible, even if he is not playing with the toy appropriately. Once he is with us, staying with us, we begin to teach turn-taking and also how to play with the toy appropriately. We can model during our turn what to do. When we think about toys and play, we can think of two broad categories: open-ended play and close-ended play. Paraphrase slide. Open-Ended play activities are often more difficult for children with autism. Examples: blocks, playdough, dolls, water table Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

29 Close-Ended Play: Clear purpose Fixed sequence or order Clear ending
Paraphrase slide. Close-ended play activities are generally easier for a child with autism and so this is where we want to start. Examples: puzzles, slides, jack-in-the boxes Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

30 Complexity of Toy Play Exploratory Combinational Cause and effect
Functional Simple pretend As we are thinking about where to start and thinking about open-ended and close-ended toy play, we also want to look at the child and where he is with his toy play. Often young children with autism at the time of referral are at the exploratory level of play with most toys. At this level, they bang them, mouth them, throw them, hold them, smell them, look at them, listen to them. The next level of complexity is using two or more toys in combination. This includes nesting, stacking, ordering toys in certain ways. Then we have cause/effect play. Children with autism are often good at cause/effect toy play, because these toys often do not demand difficult motor planning and also are intended to be engaging to young children. Cause/effect toy play includes pop-up toys and electronic toys that involve pushing a button so that music plays. These are examples of close-ended play activities. Functional play means that the child is using toys in the expected manner. For example, cars are pushed, balls are thrown, blocks are used for building, etc. Simple pretend play often begins with the child directing basic pretend play actions toward himself, like pretending to talk on the phone or pretending to eat. Then there is pretend play directed toward others, like putting a doll to bed or pretending to feed a parent. When we begin to play with a young child with an ASD, we must consider where his play falls within the stages of play so that we meet him where he is. Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

31 Easiest Toy Play Activities
Close-ended Include limited toys / materials Involve one partner to support play Have separate toys / materials for each Require no sharing, turn-taking or waiting Require no listening or language If the young child with autism that you know is at a very early stage of toy play, keep this slide in mind. Paraphrase slide. Whenever you can, include and build on the child’s interests as you develop toy play. If you are helping a child learn to do a puzzle and they like dinosaurs, get a dinosaur puzzle if you can. Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

32 And remember what we talked about in the proactive section – use visual structure whenever you can as you are developing toy play. Remember that visual structure can help with play and learning and also increases independence. Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

33 Keys to Developing Toy Play: Imitation
Have two sets of toys, if possible Remember to start by imitating the child Start with imitating simple actions with toys Use gentle prompting, if needed, to ensure success Reinforce As we think about developing play, imitation plays a key role. Suppose the child is not imitating? How do we begin? Bullets one and two It can really help to have two sets so, if he has a spoon and a can, you should have a spoon and a can too. Just like we get social interaction started by matching the child, we get toy play started by matching what the child is doing with a toy. Bullet Three When we want the child to imitate us, we start with simple actions. An example is shaking – shaking a rattle, shaking a maraca, shaking a can with some coins inside. Another simple example is banging – banging a hand on the table, banging toys together. A little bit harder activity to imitate would be one object acting on another, like a spoon hitting a can. It is generally easier for a child to imitate actions with toys as compared to actions with his body. When you are working in interactive social games, like patacake or head and shoulders, remember that it will be easiest for him to first imitate an action he can see, like clapping his hands or waving bye, and later on he can learn to imitate an action that he cannot see, like imitating opening his mouth – something you might want to teach him as part of brushing teeth. Bullet Four Use the least amount of prompting when teaching a child to imitate – but use enough to ensure success. Fade the prompts as soon as possible so the child does not get dependent on your prompting to play. Bullet five And make sure to reinforce the child when he copies what you do, even when it is not just right. Every child is different when it comes to what is reinforcing, and what is reinforcing for an individual child can vary from day to day and even hour to hour. Some children respond to a high five or a light tickle. Others appreciate our smile and a brief comment, like “good clapping”! Others might need a more tangible reinforcer as they are learning about imitating, so we might give them a small treat or an opportunity to play with a special toy. When we have a young child who is just learning about imitating and taking turns, we want to make sure to reinforce their efforts so they will stay with us and keep playing. And, as always when playing, have fun and be enthusiastic! Ask: Any other ideas on how to develop imitation? Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

34 Keys to Developing Toy Play: Define the Play Space
Consider: Physical boundaries Limiting distractions Limit available toys and activities Have a predictable play routine Many young children with autism excel with moving. They run, climb, jump and enjoy motion. In addition, they have preferred activities and they often like to do them over and over again. When a child can roam all over the house or classroom and has unrestricted access to whatever he most likes to do, it can be very hard to move toy play along. A proactive strategy to help a child expand his toy play is to create a space or several spaces for play – we talked about this in the proactive section. Ideally, these places would have physical boundaries so the child will stay close. Some families will use a bedroom. Some might use an indoor pop-up tent. Other families might use a table with a blanket over it. Some families move the furniture around to create a smaller space in a larger room. As the child develops play skills, the play area can be expanded to include other places in the home. As we define the space, we need to consider distractions – is the TV on in the room? How many people are there? What about lighting – too bright, too dark? What about toys and other things to do? With very early learners, limiting all possible distractions so that the adults and the toys (just a few) are the most interesting things in the room helps with attention and learning. Finally, once this is established, it can help to have regular times every day for play. The play times can be short, particularly for a child who is just learning, but having them regularly scheduled – perhaps right after breakfast, right after nap time, and then just before bathtime every day. And keep a set of special toys that the child enjoys set aside so he only gets them during these special play times. Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

35 Brooke Ingersoll, Ph.D., and Anna Dvortcsak, CCC/SLP
Teaching Social Communication to Children with Autism: A Practitioner's Guide to Parent Training and A Manual for Parents (2 book set) Brooke Ingersoll, Ph.D., and Anna Dvortcsak, CCC/SLP Clips from Teaching Social Communication to Children with Autism: A Practitioner's Guide to Parent Training and A Manual for Parents (2 book set) Authors: Brooke Ingersoll, Ph.D., and Anna Dvortcsak, CCC/SLP Show video clips (up to five): 1) Overview/interactive teaching methods/preverbal - Calvin, his mom and the glasses - developing interaction and turn-taking 2) to show imitating, expanding play, limiting access, turns – in Creating Opportunities for Your Child to Communicate/Balanced Turns/Single Words to Simple Phrases 1 – mom, Leah, beads, pumpkin included in this clip 3) to show expanding play/imitation – in Teaching Your Child Social Imitation and Play/Object Imitation/Single Words to Simple Phrases – mom, Leah, beads – shows expanding play in several ways 4) to show expanding play and mom following through on request – in Teaching Your Child Social Imitation and Play/Play Prompts/Increasing the Complexity of Play/Single Words to Simple Phrases 1 – mom, boy, shape sorter, having action figure put shapes in After watching the clips, ask: What strategies do the parent use? What works? Would you have done anything differently? Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

36 Play with Peers Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

37 Signs a Child May Be Ready:
Has mastered play with some different kinds of toys Is developing imitation skills Can take turns Is staying longer in interactions with adults While spending time with other children can be valuable even when a child has very early social skills, the young child with autism will benefit more from being with other young children when he is showing signs of readiness. Paraphrase slide Stanley Greenspan tells us that he begins including children in his peer groups when they can complete about 20 “circles of communication” with an adult. Children who are more proficient with these types of interactions with adults (whose reactions often are more predictable for the child) and are able to manage extended communications are more likely to be successful when handling the unpredictable nature of social communication with peers. Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

38 Strategies for Play with Peers
Start with one friend at a time Choose someone a little older Start with one friend playing in the same room but not with the same toys Then have two sets of the same toys for side-by-side play Then have one set of toys to share Once we believe a child is ready for play with peers, here are some strategies to get started. Remember, the adult may need to stay nearby to help the young child with an ASD manage the interaction. Supporting the peer is also important, since we know that playing with the young child with an ASD can be tricky at first. Paraphrase slide above Ask: what strategies have you used to help a child learn to play with peers? Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

39 Can I Play? ACTIVITY: Can I Play? (developed by Carol Schall)
1.   In order to have participants be in a group with those not at their own table, count off to end up with groups of 8 Have the groups gather and then tell them to select one person from each group to leave the room While they are out of the room, give each group a ball and let them know they will be playing a modified game of catch. Have each group form a circle. Teach them the rules: -Each group must choose a subtle motor movement (scratch head, open mouth, blink twice, touch clothes, shift weight, etc.) to use a cue to indicate that a player wants to play. Suggestion: movements around the face are more obvious/they may want to choose something else that is harder to notice.   -When a player wants to join the game, he/she must say “Can I play?” and do the chosen movement. When a player says the phrase and does the motor movement, the ball is thrown to him/her. These are the “rules” of the ball game. -If the person does not follow these rules, then the team says, “No, maybe later.” -Tell them that they can break the rules from time to time (so they could throw the ball to another player who does not follow the rules). Have each group practice a couple of times. Remind the group that they should not tell the new player (the person from each group who left the room) the rules when he/she rejoins the group Invite the people who left the room back in. Once they are back with their group, tell them that they will be playing a game with their group. Tell them they are not pretending to be a child with autism. Tell them that everyone can play if they follow the simple rules. No one tells them the rules; they have to figure it out for themselves. All groups play. Once the person who left the room has figured out the rules for their group, the group sits down. Once all groups are sitting, debrief by asking the new players if they figured out the rules. Ask about their feelings. Ask the groups for their observations. Ask how the group felt about the person who was trying to join their group. Compare and contrast this activity to how it might feel to be a child with an ASD who tries to join a peer group to play. Ask for ideas of how the teacher or parent could assist the child with an ASD in joining such an activity. Can I Play? Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

40 Activity Go to the Profile and complete Social and Play Skills - Questions 2 and Select a few social and/or play skills from the list above in question 1 that are priorities for this child in the next year. 3. Look at the skills you just prioritized and list every day activities and settings where you could practice those skills. Question 2 asks participants to select social and/or play skills that are priorities for the next year for the child Question 3 ask participants to look for ways to embed social skill instruction into naturally occurring interactions and activities. Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

41 Key Strategies to Develop Social & Play Skills
Use language just above the child’s level of communication Ensure your play/interactions match the child’s ability or are just above Wait for him to respond Move ahead slowly Have him stay in the interaction just a little longer We have talked about strategies to develop social play and play with toys. Here are some key strategies to keep in mind. Bullet one: If a child is not using many words, we want to use language just above where he is. So, we would try to use mostly single words and maybe a few two word sentences. If he is using many single words, we would want to use mostly two word sentences. Bullet Two: We need to remember the same rule with our play: match the child or do actions just above where he is with his skills. If a child is just learning to stack blocks, we don’t want to build a castle. Bullet Three: We need to remember the importance of waiting in our play and in our interactions. We know that many children with autism need extra time to process before they can talk or act. Bullet Four: We also need to move toy and social play forward slowly. Give the child time to build his early skills and give plenty of time for practice before teaching more advanced skills. Bullet Five: And, when a child is in an interaction and is showing signs that he is ready to leave, ready for a break, perhaps to go do something he might prefer, try to have him stay for just a few more turns and then let him go. From this he will, over time, learn to stay in interactions longer and he will also learn, by staying in interactions longer, he will get to do something he wants to do as a reward. Ask audience: what other strategies do you think are important? Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

42 Activity Go to the Child Profile and complete Social and Play Skills - Question 4. 4. Review the strategies that you discussed during today’s training and the social and/or play skill priorities that you identified above in question 3. Below list the skills on the left and a strategy or strategies you will use to teach those skills. Question 4 asks participants to develop a grid of the social and/or play skills their focus person needs and some methods that will assist them in teaching that person. Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

43 Closing Thoughts Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

44 When You Are Successful, the Child Will…
Voluntarily interact and play with you Initiate play with you James MacDonald Paraphrase slide Dr. James MacDonald has worked with over 1000 families, teaching them to be their children's most effective communication partners and has trained over 1500 therapists and teachers to work with language delayed children. Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

45 When You Are Successful, the Child Will…
Stay in interactions with you for longer periods of time Increase his number of turns James MacDonald Paraphrase slide Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

46 When You Are Successful, the Child Will…
Imitate you Prefer to be with you instead of being alone James MacDonald Paraphrase slide Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

47 When You Are Successful, the Child Will…
Have play that is changing and developing Show his pleasure and enjoyment in spending time with you!! James MacDonald Paraphrase slide Strategies for Young Children with ASD Virginia Autism Council 2010

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