By Pasha Bahsoun from examiner.com
Children diagnosed on the autism spectrum typically have impaired social skills, leading to difficulties initiating and sustaining social interactions, including during play and conversation. This characteristic of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) leads to a limited ability to interact with peers at school and in the community, often resulting in social isolation.
Many early intervention, social skill and applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy programs seek to teach children with ASD to initiate social interactions and play at home, in schools and in the community. The teaching progression of such programs may begin by identifying what the preferred activity of the child is, such as tag or basketball, providing the child with a basic script on how to initiate an interaction with peers engaged in that activity, such as watching their peers play, waiting for a pause in the activity and asking, "Can I play too?" While many children on the spectrum succeed in following these steps, many may experience heightened social anxiety, exacerbated by the possibility that they may be rejected.
A recent study published last week in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry posits an alternative approach to facilitating social interactions by looking at play initiated by typical peers.
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