Social interactions are about relating to others and engaging with them, it is an important component of human instinct.
Children learn social interactions through playing and interacting with peers and adults. Play provides children with opportunities to learn and practise new cognitive and social skills in a fun, safe and supportive environment.
Using play allows the child to feel a sense of motivation, achievement, challenge and working other body tasks, such as cognitive, fine motor skills, speech and observing.
Some children with Autism usually have challenges with social interactions and engaging with others, children may not join in with others who are not playing by the rules, do not share or are unable to communicate with others.
Some suggest that children with Autism may be less likely to engage with others in play and social opportunities due to,
They may not be motivated in the same way as others (interacting may not be a motivating factor)
They may struggle with how to play with objects, new toys, new people, and the environment all at once.
Although the reason for why there may be a challenge is not concrete it is definite that children with Autism do want to interact with others. I have worked with many children with a diagnosis of ASD that would really like to play with others and be likes by their peers.
There is also evidence to support that children with ASD can learn social interaction strategies and be able to engage in play activities.
Like their peers, siblings and classmates that develop skills in a developmental sequence, it may not be at time same time however it is important that play mirrors this. Some children may need coaching to support them playing with others.
To develop social interactions a professional, teacher or therapist may look into your child’s play stage, interests, activities they enjoy, social opportunities, and individual skills for each opportunity.
Social interactions and social skills is offered at Connecting Together, if you have any concerns for your child’s play, and social interactions at home, day-care or school please reach out and contact Connecting Together for support.
Poroporoaki hoki inaianei,
Melissa Walker-Tate (Occupational Therapist).
Connecting Together Ltd.