Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, physical, cognitive and emotional strength. Play is important for a healthy brain development .Children learn to engage and interact with the world around them at a very early age through play.
How Autism can affect play?
Children with Autism enjoy playing, but they can find some types of difficulty while playing. It is common to have a very limited play, only with few toys or play in a repetitive manner.
E.g.: Your child might like spinning the wheels on a toy car and enjoy watching the wheels rotate or might complete a puzzle in the same order every time.
Autism affects the development of social and communication skills, it can also affect the development of important skills needed for play, such as the ability to copy simple actions, explore the environment, share objects and attention with others, respond to others and take turns.
Types of play
(1) Exploratory play
This is when child explore objects and toys, rather than playing with them.
E.g.:- Touching & feeling a teddy bear, mouthing a block or looking at doll’s hand.
How to help a child with Autism – encourage her to splash water in the bath and rub the soap between fingers.
(2) Pretend play
This is when child may believe or pretend, and use their imaginations during play.
E.g.:- Feeding a teddy bear, dressing up like a super hero, pretending to be driving a car or imagine a couch as a sailing boat.
• It is important to develop pretending skills because it helps the child to build social, emotional & communicative roles of life.
How to help a child with Autism – pretend some actions like – driving a car, talking over phone, riding a horse, banging on a drum
(3) Solitary Play
This is when a child play alone and independently, they don’t want to get close to other children and don’t pay attention to what others are doing.
For an autistic child give Jigsaw Puzzles.
(4) Parallel Play
It is a form of play in which children play alongside to each other child and might use the same or similar toys around them.
E.g.:- Playing with train with 2/3 children
(5) Associate play
In Associate play a child interact with other child by giving, taking and sharing play materials
(6) Cooperative Play
Playing co-operatively with others including playing games with rules, making rules and working together on something.
E.g.:- Making a sand castle
• You can build language by talking about what’s going on while your child play.
• Encourage play skills in different environments.
• Use everyday activities as opportunities for play.
E.g.:- Dressing a doll can help your child to learn, how to dress up themselves.