Friday, February 20, 2009

Book Focus: Play and Imagination in Children with Autism

Image: Cover of Play and Imagination in Children with Autism by Pamela J. Wolfberg

My newest series of posts is going to be about introducing the concept of play to children with autism. What topic can be more fun to write about? For my next round of posts, I'll be writing about toys, play leaders, groups, play therapy and last, but not least--the ideas about play that Pamela Wolfberg offers up in her book, Play and Imagination in Children with Autism.

Although this book is almost ten years old and written it an academic style (the book is a product of her dissertation, a paper she wrote to obtain her doctorate degree), it gave me hope because it focused on her work with children between the ages of eight and eleven. As a mother of a now ten year old boy with autism, I was told by my son's developmental pediatrician, who also happened to have a Play Therapy business (based on the concept of floor time), that my then six year old was almost too old to benefit from the therapy. I ended up passing on that therapy because it was too expensive (in both money and time) and our insurance didn't cover the cost.

So reading how three children benefited from an integrated play group (a group comprised of children with and without autism) was rather enlightening in a good way. Though I do believe that early intervention is essential for individuals with autism, I'd also like to think that there is something parents can do to help their older children function better with their peers and in society in general. Teaching children through play is one of the most fun ways to accomplish that goal.

This series at, however, will be crafted to also help parents with younger children as well. The target audience for this series will be parents who have autistic children between the ages of 2 and 12.

My next post will go a little deeper into some of Wolfberg's ideas. I'll be sharing her definitions of the characteristics of play as well as some of her other ideas. Please stay tuned!


Anonymous said...

i have a 3y old asd and struggle with playtime, so look forward to the forthcoming posts.

Anonymous said...

i have a 3y old asd and struggle with playtime, so look forward to the forthcoming posts.

Pamela Wolfberg said...

What serendipity! I chanced upon your blog while searching for news of the release of the REVISED EDITION of my book PLAY AND IMAGINATION IN CHILDREN WITH AUTISM (due out March 2009). Thank you for your kind and thoughtful words. I sincerely hope that this new edition furthers efforts to bring play and friendships into the lives of many more children. I look forward to your insights...

Jules said...

To Anonymous: Yes, I can understand why playtime is hard, but there are a lot of things you can do with him or her. Hopefully, I'll offer helpful ideas.

To Pamela Wolfberg: Yes it is serendipity! I found your book while browsing the shelves Park Library at Central MIchigan University, which has a great special ed program. Thanks for letting me know you have a revised edition coming out!

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