Teaching Children with Autism, continued
As a general rule, children like to play at those things that either:
(1) bring them enjoyment (positive reinforcement) or
(2) help them avoid distress (negative reinforcement).
Most children like to play because of the enjoyment that it brings them. Many children with autism, because of their sensory sensitivities and the frustration of not being able to live up to their parents’ demands, are more concerned with avoiding distress; and the activities in which they are likely to immerse themselves might be called “comfort activities,” particularly when they are not yet at the stage where they can derive much enjoyment from the kinds of play activities that most children choose to engage in. They actually need help to learn to get enjoyment out of the ordinary kinds of play.
A good place for you to start in learning to play with your child is Richard Solomon’s DVD, The P.L.A.Y. Project Workshop Level 1: Play and Language for Autistic Youngsters. This DVD contains a complete workshop, including play-based interventions, based on Greenspan’s DIR (Developmental, Individual Differences, Relationship-Based) model.