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Peer Play and the Autism Spectrum
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Picture a childhood void of the joyful images and sensations we associate with play - a childhood lacking in curiousity, diversity and symbolic meaning - a childhood without playmates or friends. Children on the autism spectrum are among those who face serious challenges learning how to play in both social and imaginative ways.
But no longer do these children have to remain lost souls on the fringes of playgrounds and other social gathering places.
This practical guide offers an introduction to the basic principles, tools and techniquest that comprise the Integrated Play Groups model, designed to support children of diverse ages and abilities on the autism spectrum (novice players) in mutual play exercises with typical peers and siblings (expert players). Small groups of children regularly play together under the guidance of an adult facilitator (play guide) through a carefully tailored system of support. The emphasis is on maximizing children's developmental potential as well as intrinsic desire to play, socialize and from meaningful relationships with peers. At the same time, an equally important focus is on teaching the peer group to be more accepting, responsive and inclusive of children who relate and play in different ways. This innovative book is full of forms, checklists and other tools to facilitate implementation.
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