Information about the Games
Finding Games at the Right Level of Difficulty
The Game Collections Pages are organized into three levels of difficulty:
- Beginner Games for children who are not yet verbal or are just learning their first words
- Intermediate Games for children who are putting at least a few words together
- Advanced Games for children who are at least starting to put sentences together.
You may want to venture into games that are outside your child's developmental level and that is fine. I organized the games this way according to a method that I have drawn from the Assessment Manual of SCERTS (see link below). You don't have to stay within one level, though. Harder games can be simplified so that your child can play and you can always play games that are easier with any child. I recommend that you do because easy games build a social relationship between the players. It is fun for any child to play a chase and tickle game. Any child loves to get a silly reaction from an adult. Keep in mind, however, that the reason children with autism are not successful in social play is most often because the play partner is playing at too high a level and the child is confused. Start simple and gradually add more elements to a game. You can see that many games are presented on this site at two or three levels of difficulty. This makes it possible for you to introduce your child to a game in a simple way and then teach the harder versions over time.
Following Your Child's Interests
I recommend that parents strike a balance between using a child's interests and helping a child develop broaden his or her interests to include new things. I have included a variety of different kinds of games so that you will, I hope, find a kind of game that will suit your child. For children who love to move, there are lots of movement games. For children who love building, there are building games. For children who love to draw, there are drawing games. Your child might play at a higher level of difficulty if the game includes elements that are really interesting and it is exciting to see capacity in your child. On the other hand, some materials are so interesting that your child will be completely engaged mentally with the materials and have no mental energy left to include social interaction and that can be discouraging when you are playing primarily in order to deepen your relationship with your child. I recommend using a child's passions and interests but not exclusively and not if it means you can't create any positive social interaction.
Play can Broaden a Child's Interests
Here is an example of how to broaden a child's interests. One of our children at the clinic was consumed with elevators and only wanted to play elevator. Our therapist, Tamara, did include elevator play, and needed to, or she would not have had any buy-in from this child. However, she began immediately to add more play ideas to the elevator theme. Had she not done this she would have spent 45 minutes going into and out of the elevator door, pushing buttons and waiting since this was about all this little person wanted to do. Tamara would reassure her elevator lover that they would indeed be going to the elevator (a closet in our one level building) but that first all the Beanie Baby Animals would need to be found because they wanted to go to the elevator too. This kind of delay was quite stressful at the beginning, for her young friend but soon the Hide and Seek game for Beanie Baby animals made sense to her friend and this part of the play was engaging. Each animal was reassured that he or she would be going to ride on an elevator soon! This reassurance helped sustain the play. Tamara's play sessions, over time, became a much better mix of various kinds of games and less about the elevator as this child learned to enjoy more activities and toys. It took patience but it was important for Tamara to guide her young friend into more kinds of play. A wide mix of different kinds of play allow a child to learn so much more than even the most creative play on a single theme.
Printable Microsoft Word Document of Introduction Pages Attached Below
Medical Disclaimer Autism Games © By Tahirih Bushey 11.12.2009