Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How To Help Autistic Kids With Play

By Bec Oakley at

The way autistic kids play is often called unusual because it’s different to what you see in typically developing kids - there’s less role playing, they can become obsessed with a particular type of toy or just one part of it and often play with objects that aren't traditionally considered to be toys.

But is that a problem? When should we be lending autistic kids a hand with their play, and how do we do that?

What's the point of play?

We play for a lot of different reasons - learning, exercise, stimulation, entertainment - and it’s no different for autistic kids. They’re learning and exploring the world, testing out ideas and plain old having a good time - but it’s just not always in the way that we might expect.

Spinning the propeller on a toy helicopter over and over might seem boring and purposeless to many kids, but for others it's really exciting. It feels good and sparks their curiosity about stuff like air currents and the patterns of sunlight through the dust... to them it’s a functional, purposeful way to enjoy and explore the world.

So finding enjoyment and stimulation in things that most people consider odd isn’t the bit where autistic kids might need help.
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