"If you got rid of all the autism genetics, you wouldn't have science or art. All you would have is a bunch of social 'yak yaks" - Temple Grandin
Students with Autism can lack the Social Skills necessary to function successfully in environments with their peers, often resulting in exclusion from groups. Social and play skills must be directly taught, meaning, most students will not simply pick up these skills on the playground like their peers. They need to be taught like any other skill and practised in structured and natural environments. Check out the Social Skills Checklist to determine gaps in your student's Social Skills behaviours.
Here are 5 types of Play we would typically observe in a school setting:
1. Solitary/Independent PlaySelf-centered child plays alone
2. Onlooker PlayChild observes other children playing but does not join in (i.e. recess time)
3. Parallel PlayChildren play the same game side by side (i.e. painting at 2 easels side-by-side)
4. Associative PlayChildren play separately from each other but problem solve together (i.e. block structures)
5. Cooperative PlayChildren begin to play together, setting up for future interactions (i.e. dramatic play)
Here are the 3 ways I teach Social Skills:
1. Direct Teaching
I directly teach the concepts of waiting, turn-taking and positive praise by guiding students using appropriate prompts and modelling by playing games with them and their peers.
A Big Mack Communicator is a great way for non-verbal students to indicate "My Turn", and turn taking cards provide students with a visual cue of when to play and when to wait.
3. Reverse IntegrationSelected students from general education classrooms spend time in a special education classroom setting to provide the students with special needs with an appropriate role model in a setting where he or she is comfortable.
|Keep in mind student's interests|