Background to my interest in teaching children with autism

Teaching (Young) Children with Autism: The Preschoolers, continued

This is not rocket science, folks, and you can do it!  Yes, there is a lot of refinement that can go into it, but I have just given you the basics.  There are many “curricula” that you can follow, the most common ones in use around here being the ABLLS-R (Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills – Revised) and the VB-MAPP (the Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program); but you could also use the Hawaii Early Learning Program, the Carolina Curriculum, the Eden curriculum, etc., etc.  Less apparent is the need for a play curriculum, a list of the kinds of play appropriate for children at different developmental levels.  But again, the references are readily available.  I particularly like the work of Richard Solomon, whose The P.L.A.Y. Project (see his DVD, Level 1: Play and Language for Autistic Youngsters) is based on Dr. Stanley Greenspan’s Floortime® model (see 23, 24 May 2013).

Greenspan was interested in helping the child establish social/emotional relationships.  He posited six functional developmental levels:

1. Shared attention and attachment

2. Engagement

3. Two way communication

4. Complex two-way communication

5. Shared meanings and symbolic play

6. Emotional thinking

Greenspan proposed to help the child negotiate these six developmental levels through play, starting with activities at the child’s “comfort zone,” i.e., those activities in which the child currently finds comfort, such as:  Lining up blocks, turning lights off and on, spinning things, making noises, deep pressure, etc., etc.; and Solomon has listed play activities appropriate for children at each of these developmental levels.

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