• Comparing Independent, Onlooker, and Parallel Play

    To the casual observer, one child’s method of play might look the same as any other. But behavior analysts and sociologists have identified multiple types of play. The type of play a child may engage in depends on his or her developmental level, age, mood, and social setting. Younger children often engage in independent play, also called solo play. Independent play is important for developing self-sufficiency. Children with autism tend to engage in independent play more than cooperative play with other children. 

    Onlooker play is similarly more common in younger children. It occurs when a child is acting as an observer as other children play. Onlooker play enables children to learn the rules of the game and pick up on the nuances of social interaction. Parallel play, which is common in three-year-olds, occurs when two children play beside each other, but not with each other. Although it might seem like children enjoying parallel play aren’t paying much attention to each other, they are indeed learning about important social cues. 

    Are you concerned that your child might not be engaging in age-appropriate play? Call The Behavior Exchange at (888) 716-8084 to request an appointment with a behavior analyst in Plano and Frisco, Texas.

  • Is Your Child Ready for a Play Date?

    All children need regular and ongoing social interactions with their peers to develop socio-emotional skills. For children with autism, play dates are even more important because of the need for lots of practice with social interactions. Talk to your child’s ABA therapist about whether he or she is ready for a playdate. 

    First, your child should have plenty of practice playing with adults. You can help your child learn about appropriate play and important skills like taking turns and sharing toys. A successful play date requires a child to know how to play with certain toys or games. Your child should also be interested in playing with his or her peers before having a play date outside of the ABA school. 

    Your child can prepare for successful play dates by joining the social skills classes at The Behavior Exchange. Our behavior analysts in Plano and Frisco guide school-aged children in learning important social skills and developing lasting friendships. Call (888) 716-8084.

  • Is Your Child Ready to Host a Playdate?

    Learning social skills is a natural part of a child’s development, and children with autism are no exception. If your child has autism or another developmental delay, it can take some time before you schedule his or her first playdate. Here are some of the signs that your child is ready for some playtime with a peer:

    Your child enjoys playing.

    Before scheduling a playdate, make sure that your child is at the right skill level. Does your child enjoy playing with his or her toys? Do you often see your child playing with blocks or puzzles? If your child is at the appropriate skill level and shows enthusiasm for toys and games, it may be time to introduce him or her to the idea of playing with other children.

    Your child has the right playmate.

    It’s important to pick your child’s first playmate carefully. Ideally, the friend your child plays with should be around the same age and should have approximately the same level of playing skills. It is a bonus if your child’s friend shares some of the same interests, such as dinosaurs or outer space. Make sure that you or another adult is around to supervise the playdate.

    Your child has the right activities.

    You should also take the time to make sure that the children have the right toys, games, or other activities available for the playdate. Remember, however, that children who have autism are sometimes alarmed by changes in routine. You may want to create a special schedule for your child so that he or she can see everything that is going to happen that day.

    If you think that your child could benefit from ABA therapy , contact The Behavior Exchange. We use proven, evidence-based methods to provide children who have developmental delays with the effective care they deserve. You can reach our office in Plano today by calling (888) 716-8084.