Research demonstrates young children with autism and other developmental disabilities can benefit from participation in play activities with peers. Play provides opportunities to increase social skills across developmental domains in an integrated manner and provides opportunities to develop a sense of belonging and friendship; these goals are critical for young children with disabilities. However, in order for children with disabilities to benefit from the interactions that occur during play and to continue to progress developmentally in play skills, systematic intervention in social skills is needed. A variety of evidence-based practices provide guidance to teachers. In this article, three strategies are presented to assist early childhood educators. The three research-based strategies include the use of scripts, video modeling, and embedding choice as part of classroom activities. These practices create a context in which play skills can be developed and used in natural environments, thereby facilitating children’s engagement in play and improving the likelihood for improved interactions with peers.
- Autism spectrum disorders
- Social skills
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology