Top 10 Ways To Teach Children How To Be More Inclusive With Play

  1. Educate your children about autism, what it means and how a child may present.  One of the most important aspects to inclusion is knowledge and understanding of the forms of communication.  In most cases, a child will not be able to determine if an individual has autism by looking at them.  They will notice it through social interaction.  
  2. Many of the feelings, mannerisms and expressions that a child with autism exhibits, all  children experience.  
  3. Be ready to connect and communicate with words.  But also with non-verbal communication such as body language, facial expressions and gestures.  Non-verbal forms of communication are observed more by a child with autism. 
  4. Be patient, everyone processes communication and interaction at different speeds.  Sometimes individuals need more time.
  5. Different types of play, parallel versus interactive.  Parallel play may be a better non-invasive way to approach a child.  For example, each child has a ball and is engaging in basketball versus interactive play when two children are using one ball to pass back and forth. 
  6. Sensory play.  Engaging in activities that affect multiple sensory systems such as using different textures, lighting, sounds, scents or movements.  
  7. Indoor versus outdoors.  Be flexible, indoor settings provide a more predictable and quiet environment which might be preferred.
  8. Asking too many questions or open ended questions may be overwhelming.  Instead ask questions with yes or no answers. 
  9. Engagement in all activities-snack / lunch times, library, classroom and sports!
  10. Don’t give up.  It takes a few times for a child with autism to engage in play.