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 autism-blog.net, 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!