Just like ordinary kids, autistic kids love to play and they love toys as well. Before commencing play therapy, we need to build up rapport and trust as well as to arouse their interest to play. Dad and mom are the most suitable persons to start with their children, not only the time spent together is indeed joyful but help to achieve the purpose of play therapy. Moreover, the opportunity to play together can help to increase their language skills. This is the great opportunity for both parents and children with special needs, just that parents need to put in extra effort to plan this play therapy.
The importance of playtime needs not over-emphasized, it is through this time that they learn motor coordination, develop skills to handle toys, learn skills to interact with his playmates, build up self-confidence, etc. Needless to say, playtime give kids the opportunity to pick up their social, emotional and physical developments. Also, choosing the suitable playtime activities can help to stimulate their language skills besides giving them enough fun.
Followings are the suggestions to start with play therapy:
Correct environment for play therapy: start with an appropriate decoration, such as play mat helps to define the play area, minimal distractions of sounds and visuals such as radio and TV, certainly gives them comfortable feel to play.
Deciding right time for play therapy: always pick the right time when they are not exhausted or needing nap hours, better still to start after nap hour or when fresh. While playing, if they become bored or tired with these games, it is no point pushing them to continue, Also, in the beginning, is better to have shorter playing session says five to ten minutes and several of these short sessions spread out in a day. This way, not only helps to arouse their interest to continue playtime, it contributes to lengthen their attention spread.
Picking new toys: is always good to start with plays or games that they are more interested with, and works up slowly to include toys that help to develop cognitively.
Be flexible: learning from playtime is not necessary only at structured play sessions, it can be flexible while shopping, driving in the car, baking cakes or cookies, cleaning up the house, folding clothes, etc.
Lastly, let them initiate: since our roles are more of supportive one, we should consider to let them initiate their moves, leave them playing unless they want us to participate, or choosing their choice of games during play therapy.
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