TEACHING PLAY SKILLS
By:  Tracey Spiro
Special Education /Aba Teacher
Why is play important?           

•        Play is a child’s “work”.  It’s what they do in order to learn about their world.
•        Play allows a child to learn and practice new skills in all areas.
•        Play provides a vehicle to interact with people and objects in their environment.
•        Play promotes independence during “down time”.
•        Play builds confidence and competency.
•        Learning how to play appropriately with toys can replace non-functional play.
•        Most important, IT’S FUN!!!

How does play differ for a child with a developmental disorder?
Children without a developmental
disorder
  
Children with a developmental
disorder
Ritualistic
Can be Non-Functional
Repetitive
Limited interests
Rigid
Voluntary
Spontaneous
Internally Reinforcing
Flexible
Creative
Selecting Toys?
•        Pick out toys that are related to your children’s INTERESTS.
•        If your child engages in “non functional behavior” choose toys that provide the
same sensory input but in a more appropriate way.
•        Choose toys that correspond to your child’s developmental level.

Teaching Tips:
•        Don’t be afraid to “change the rules” or use only some of the pieces to simplify
the play in the beginning.
•        Remember to teach “one step at a time”. Small steps will lead to BIG gains!
•        Program for success! Provide “prompts” as needed in order to ensure that your
child continues to be successful and motivated.
•        Structure play time in “small time frames” frequently throughout the day.
•        Know when to end a play session!
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