It's all fun and games..

Hi everyone! Happy Monday!
Here's to another fab week!

Today i'm going to talk all about fun and games. Anyone who knows anyone with autism may understand just how real the struggle is to sometimes get them to play.

I mean there are so many issues involved in it! Here are just some;

Rules
Sometimes we can overwhelm our children with so many rules that they're lost and don't understand the fun in it anymore, think to yourself - does the game really need so many rules? Can the children make up their own rules as they go along and use their imagination? You are observing anyway so if things get out of hand then you can interrupt and state any issues that have arisen. 

Sharing
You may have noticed that some children with autism just can not understand the concept of sharing, and why should they? It is very much a social skill, we all know how delayed the social side can be within a child with autism so it is very hard for them. Why should I let someone else play with something I'm enjoying? Put yourself in the child's shoes, try to think what they are thinking. If a child can't share, then playing games can be very difficult! 

Understanding
Some games are so complicated, am I right? I mean, between all the instructions, then the understanding of the game, then being split into teams - that's like total overload! To try and obtain all that information, take it all on board, try to remember who is on your team, who you are playing for, what you are playing for, how you play the game - it's crazy! So, slow down, try to minimise the instructions, try to show an example of the game, use visuals!

Now, after reading all of that you're probably thinking, what is the point of me putting in all of this effort for the children to play games together when it's so hard work? Because, it is.

Think of the positives that children will get from playing games;

1. Children learn best through play.
This is a well known topic of conversation, it is factored into all sorts of education on how to help children progress. It offers a fun alternative to the usual sit down at a table learning methods, by making learning fun - the children won't even notice they are learning!

2. Socialising
Socialising is such an important part of our children's lives, yet for children with autism it is so hard for them to be able to open themselves up and socialise with others. By playing games, they may not necessarily be communicating with others or running up to them and trying to interact but they're playing alongside them, the first steps are almost the smallest and hardest to take, once you get those done, you're on the right track! The child with autism may spend the next 6 months playing alongside the other children before trying to interact or they may just spend a few weeks, this is totally dependant on the individual child, but if there can be something to achieve at the end of the whole thing surely it's worth a go?

3. Taking turns
By playing games, children will automatically start to understand the process of turn taking, they will watch staff modelling it, other children modelling it and will start to learn about it, they may not fully understand why they are taking turns but so long as they are learning to take turns, that's a massive leap!

4. Confidence
It is amazing how much a child's confidence can grow by playing games with others. The more times they play a game, the more confident they get at it, when they become more confident there is a bigger opportunity for them to begin to mix with others.

5. Learning from each other
So, every day children will look to the staff in the classroom to learn from them. But, what about learning from each other? Playing games allows children to open up their imagination and creativity, each child is completely unique and the more that they mix with others, the more their imagination and creativity grows! Children can start to learn from each other - learn new moves, learn new games, learn new socialising skills. The list is endless. 

Don't forget, although a child may be diagnosed with autism, underneath it all they are just a child. They will do things that any other child in the World may do, because they are just going through the same learning processes as everyone else, just with a little more help and support needed.

Nikki 

2 comments

  1. Sometimes, when the schedule is crazy and there is too much to do, I forget to take a step back for a second. Thanks for the reminder!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No problems - it's so easy to do! There are so many things we now have to abide by that the 'fun and games' slips away!

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