Early Toy Play In Autism

Toy Play in Autism
By Tracy Vail,MS,CCC/SLP
People Play
Determine Child’s sensory profile
Provide input the child will likely find pleasurable
Stay connected
Watch for reaction
Build anticipation
Repeat as the child signals to continue
Look for smiles, eye contact, social engagement
Examples of “People Play”
 Peek-a-boo
 Ride on legs
 Spin in circles
 Jumping
 Dancing
 Tickle games
 Chase (be careful!)
Dancing with Elmo
First Toys
 Match to child’s sensory profile
 “stimmy toys”
 Be sure child doesn’t have access to “stimmy”
toys when alone
 Be sure child connects to both you and the toy
 Watch to be sure the toy isn’t overwhelming the
 Help the child stay regulated
Examples of Stimmy Toys
 Wheels
 Tops
 Ribbon sticks
 Sticky toys- gak, creatures, putty
 Spinning lights
 Sound toys
 Music toys
Brian Top
Brian Wheels
Cause-effect toys
 Use to engage child in pretend play
 Demonstrate “effect” to get engagement
 Stay in control of “cause” to increase
motivation to communicate
 Say the “cause” as you manipulate the toy
 Once engagement is made, pause and
look at the child to get a signal to continue
 Invite, don’t demand communication
Examples of Cause-Effect Toys
 Horse barn that squirts water
 Sink that quirts water and “cooks”
 Pretend food that you can cut
 Weebles toys that roll
 Pop beads on board that turn
Gabby Horse Barn
Beginning Role Play
 Build a script or sequence of events
 Engage in the sequence by yourself at first if
Give the child a role as engagement increases
Set up a problem and give child choices of
Encourage problem solving and flexibility in
developing strategies
Avoid scripting
Examples of Role Play Toys
 Dolls
 Bob the Builder toy sets
 Thomas the Train tracks/play sets
 Disney character play sets
 Pretend food/kitchen
 Housekeeping toys
Board/Card Games
 Teach turn taking
 Keep short and simple at first, gradually
increase flexibility
Teach appropriate “winner” and “loser”
Give plenty of opportunities for choice
Modify games as needed
Child should have a history of many “rule
following” behaviors before teaching
Examples of Board/Card Games
 Chutes and Ladders
 Memory games
 Favorite TV character games
 Uno
 Go Fish
Abby Go Fish