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Play and the Autistic Child

Play and the Autistic Child

For most children, play is a naturally occurring phenomenon that promotes their engagement and learning, independent performance and social inclusion.  For children on the Autism Spectrum play often does not come naturally.  With a neurotypically developing child play happens, voluntarily, often spontaneously and it offers internal reinforcement and rewards.

Where-as play for individuals on the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is characterized by impairments in reciprocal social, communication, and restricted or repetitive behaviour, motor planning difficulties, low muscle tone, sensory challenges and a strong desire for “solitary play”.  Many Autists are also drawn to “screen-time” rather than “green-time”.

As a school specialising in whole-child education – providing new opportunities to develop our children’s physical literacy is something we are passionate about. 

 Our Autism School Curriculum therefore includes play, physical education, motor planning and cultural art studies:

  • Teaching independent play skills
  • Getting the child to engage in “Parallel Play” with both an Adult and another Child
  • Toy manipulation skills
  • Strong focus on “Associative Play” (giving, taking, turn-taking and sharing play materials)
  • “Co-operative play” (focussing on helping the child exchange ideas about a game or a toy, making up new “rules” for games)
  • Daily PE – strengthening core muscle strengths and co-ordination skills
  • Solid Art program which promoted cooperation whilst helping children develop their creative thinking and fine-motor skills
  • Music and Acting is integral in the development of “pretend-play” and further helps with vocabulary building, anxiety management, confidence building, life skills, social skills building, turn taking and so much more.

To find out more about our Autism School Curriculum and facilities contact Our Autism School is in Johannesburg.