Creating Systems for Success:Building Language and Other Skills Through Play and SocialInteractionLindy McDanielECSE TeacherRoosevelt ElementaryHays, KS1considerateclassroom.blogspot.com
I am going to. . .Notes, Key Pointsand ResourcesVisual Structure and Handouts for Today. . .considerateclassroom.blogspot.com
Getting to Know Me. . .• I have worked with preschoolchildren for over 10 years.• Working with at risk and specialneeds students, especially thosewith Autism is my passion.• I taught Head Start preschool for fiveyears, then in the fall of 2008, Ibegan teaching in an Early ChildhoodSpecial Education Classroom.• I have background in ConsciousDiscipline, Responsive Teaching andStructured Teaching.• I currently share my work throughmy blog. . .considerateclassroom.blogspot.com
Getting to Know You. . .• How many years have you been workingwith children with Autism? Other disabilities?• How many of you are teachers? parents? specialservice providers (slp, ot, pt, etc)? other?• What percentage of your day are you interactingwith kids directly? Are you present with them? Areyou engaging, playful, and upbeat? Do you workdirectly on play skills?
Why is PlayImportant?For most young children, play is anaturally occurring phenomena thatpromotes their engagement andlearning, independent performanceand social inclusion. (Brewer, &Kieff, 1996; Lowenthal, 1996;Perlmutter & Burrell, 1995)Thereinforcing value of play maintainsits presence in the child’s repertoire,serving as a precursor for successfulparticipation in educationalenvironments that expose childrento important concepts in math,literacy, science, and language.
Children who are unable toparticipate in play experiences areat risk for future deficits and havegreater difficulty adjusting toschool environments whereindividual instruction is limited.-Buysee, Wesley, Keyes and Bailey, 1996; Gallagher, 1997.)
Why isPlay soDifficult forChildrenWithAutism?There are three distinctivebehaviours that characterizechildren with autism:•Difficulties with verbal andnonverbal communication.•Difficulties with socialinteraction.•Repetitive behaviours ornarrow, obsessive interests.-Griffin and Sandler2010What skills do we need for play?
How do we teach play skills? Especially whenthey were skillsthat came sonatural to us.-Video not available
Key Points about this Video• Miss Penny was engaging and upbeat with the student.• She tried to use toys that might interest the student.• She followed the students lead to get engagement. . .NEVERING GIVING UP!• She walked to her and imitated her attempts to be socialand communicate.• She built language into the interactions.• This clip was taken during free play, ideallyduring free play preschoolers play witheach other and engage for 10 to 20minutes with a learning activity andthen move on to other play basedlearning activities.So how dowe expandthis littlegals playskills?
We break down play skills andteach them systematically.-Video not available
Key Points about this Video• The environment was calm.• The area was structured with the two cube chairs, one asa seat and one as a desk.• Multiple play activities were planned to cater to thestudents short attention span.• The student’s need for a break/walk was planned on theteacher’s terms as a purposeful errand to get her nextplay activity.• The teacher was playful and engaging while at the sametime setting boundaries and limits so the student wouldnot go back to her nonfunctional play ways (roamingaround the classroom).
• The teacher listened to the studentsnonverbal cues. When she got a little upsetshe said, “One more then all done.” Setting alimit but also hearing the child!• By listening and noticing student’snonverbal cues we can preventa lot of tantrums and upset! Noticing is HUGE!By noticing you staypresent with thechild, be responsiveto their verbal andnonverbalcommunication-Based on Conscious Disciplineand the work of Dr. Bailey
• We often support children with play throughthe use of play kits, like the baby doll kit usedin the video.• Play kits are boxes with everything you need toplay with a specific toy inside, that includesvisuals and communication boards.• The idea behind the kits is less is MORE! Childrencan often be overwhelmed and do not knowwhere to start or how to organize their play.• By starting out with only a few toys rather than anentire playroom or classroom the students arenot as overwhelmed.Play Kits
Sample Play Kits* Note these kits typically have Social Narrativesor Video Modeling Clips to go along with them.
Task Boxes• A precursor to play kits are task boxes.• A task box is a workbox of materials a studentcan successfully complete because it has aclear beginning and end.• When all the pieces are in or put on the childknows they are finished. This helps the childbuild independence and feel successful.
Sample Task BoxesYou can see more of my favorite task boxes on my blog.
Other Resources for Taskboxes• Henry, K.A. How do I teach this kid. IngramPublishing Services, May 2005.• Kabot, S. and Reeve, C. Building independence:how to create and use structured work systems.2012.• Tasks Galore. www.taskgalore.com(several publications and resources)*My favorite for increasing play skills is Task Gallore-Let’s Play (It is the green book)
• By having toys in play kits or task boxes, childrencan see a clear point to what they are playing with.• They see a beginning and an end!• Play can be very open ended.• The concept of play is abstract. For example, you canplay with many toys in a variety of ways.• Children with Autism are often very rigid. They don’tsee the point of frivolous free play.• During free play they often engage in repetitive playsuch as spinning car wheels, flipping pages in a bookor scooping sand over and over, unless otherwisetaught play skills.
Tip: You might start out by creating tasks thatare more academic or work driven. They oftenmake since to children on the spectrum.Helping them get in organized movementpatterns, increases their ability to attend anddecreases the amount of time they engage instemming or non-functional/unsafe playactivities.
School Examples of Work Related TasksAttendanceTaskSnack JobsDate Helper
Home Examples of Work Related TasksClothing SortSetting the TableSock Match
• We initially teach play skillswith task boxes and playkits in a controlled one onone setting.• We incorporatepreacademic concepts i.e.colors, shapes, andnumbers within play.• We work on improvingverbal and nonverbalcommunication as well asother life skills such aswaiting for a turn, andcomplying with directives.
An Example of One on One Structured Play-Video not available
Key Points about this Video• I worked on the skill of compliance thoughout thesession but continued to interact in a positive,nonthreatening way.• I intermittently gave the student his preferredreinforcer to draw attention to his compliance.• I was present, and upbeat.• I continually worked to be a part of his play, workingtoward sustained engagement, reciprocalinteractions and increased communication.• We were playing in a controlled environment.With one toy specifically, remember less is more!
I set limits for how long we would playwitha visual and timer.*See more details on my blogThe visual also served as a communication tool.
• Children with Autism often getstuck in repetitive playpatterns.• They limit play to items ofinterest.• Often playing with those itemsin the same fashion for alongtime.• By setting a timer, staff is ableto teach them how totransition and make new playchoices.Time Timers- timetimer.com and Sand Timers- watchtimepass.comAre Great for That!
What Comes Next?• After teaching children play skills in acontrolled one on one setting, we beginincorporating other children into the child’splay.• Sometimes we group children with others attheir level to work on specific skills and othertimes we group them with typicallydeveloping peers to serve as social models.
Note: I use the phrase, “What comes next?” For thepurpose of this presentation and sharing with you theprocess of learning play skills. First we learn them withan adult, then we use them with kids. That being saidin our classroom we have one on one, small group, andlarge group opportunites for all kids everyday. Thosewith less play and social skills may just need moreadult support during small and large group activities orless time in them through methods of ReverseChaining and Layered Grouping.
An Example of Structured Small Group Playwith Children of Similar Levels-Video not available
Key Points about this Video• I used a highly preferred toy and topic tosupport the students in attending.• The environment was quiet and structured.• The children were facing me.*• The children had a waiting hands visual tosupport them in waiting.Quick Prompt-see deals on my blogVisual to Hold
An Example of Structured Small Group Playwith Children of Varying Levels-Video not available
Key Points about this Video• The child on the right has very limitedcommunication. He was using a Mini PODDto communicate.• The children on the left used the PODD asmodels for him.• By using the PODD, they were alsoable to work on increase theirsentence length.To learn more about PODD,look up Gayle Porter’s workwww.spectronicsinoz.com
• I also modified the Go Fish Game so it wasmore visual and the student knew when theywere finished.Level Two ModificationLevel One Modification
TIP- Board games, puzzles, and other preschool gamesare great for working on play skills. If modifiedcorrectly they can even serve the purpose ofreinforcing academic skills and encouraging language.The key is to modify them so they make sense to thechild and the child knows when they are done.Guess Who? Wood PuzzlesCandy Land
Where do we go from here?• We start incorporating structured playactivities across setting and environments.(Not just at the table or face to face on thefloor.)• In the classroom, we do this by structuringplay centers.
Examples of Structure at the Art Center37First- Structured ArtLesson for the Day (In thispicture making an elephant).Then- Art ChoicesTIP- A good resource for step by step Artactivities is Climbing Art Obstacles in AutismBy Karen Loden Talmage
Examples of Structure at the Library Center38Library Work System- First listen to the storyof the day, Then-pick a book of your choice.A closer look at the system
Examples of Structure atthe Pretend Play CenterNametags to define rolesAbove: The Vets area,to the left thereceptionist area*See more detailson my blog
Pretend Play Can Be ExtremelyDifficult for Students on the SpectrumWhenever we start a new theme in the pretend play center,we support it by sharing a Video Model of how to play there.-Video not available
• Our entire classroom isstructured with boundariesand visual limits.• There are structuredactivities at each centerfollowed by free play so thechildren do not have toomuch down time.• The visuals also supportlanguage andcommunication.• The children know whenthey need to work/play ateach center based on theirindividual schedules.Why are ourPlay CentersSuccessful?
What it Looks Like. . .Pretend Play Center Art CenterLibrary CenterBlock and ManipulativeCenter
Can you Set Up Similar Areasand Boundaries in Your Home?Absolutely!Pretend PlayLibrary Center and Play KitsSafe IndependentPlayCar and TrainPlay
You Can Even Create StructuredPlay Areas Outdoors!‘Play Kits’for outdoorsSchedules forOutdoor PlayCommunication for Outdoors
An Aided Language Boardto Request Toys in a Play RoomRemember Less Is More!• De-clutter and organize!• Organize toys and materials in bins, baskets, andcontainers. This organizes children’s play.• Rotate toys and manipulatives in and out so you canteach play skills systematically and morepurposefully.• TIP: By having toys put up and out ofreach, you create a perfect opportunityfor requesting.
Which Brings Me to the Main Point of this Presentation?Through all our effort in helping childrenlearn to play, we want to encourage socialinteraction, engagement, and verbaland nonverbal communication.We want to help children communicatetheir wants, needs and opinions!INCREASINGCOMMUNICATION!
Tricks for Increasing Language• Put things out of reach so they have to request them.• Use toys that they need your help with so they have to ask for help.• Give them all but one piece to a game so they have to request themissing piece.• Give them a few pieces to a toy or game at a time so they have torequest more.• Offer your child a toy they don’t like so they have to communicate‘no’.• Even if you know what they want keep quiet and wait for them toask.• Play dumb, give them the wrong pieces to a game or put it togetherwrong so they have to communicate for you to do it differently.Tips fromMotivate to Communicateby Griffin and Sandler
Use Aided Language Boards, PODDs, PECSand other Visuals to Support LanguageAidedLanguageBoardsPECSPODD BookA SampleVisual Support
An Example of Supporting Languagewith an Aided Language Board-Video not available
Key Points About this Video• I played dumb. “Marbles, What about theMarbles?”• I complimented them on good talking skills.• I shaped the little guy who was struggling bystructuring his body and having him sit in my lap.• I taped the Aided Language Board to the top ofthe lid so it would be at easy access for all staffand students to use. STAFF MUST MODEL IT’SUSE!!TIP- If you don’t have Marble Whirl get it!!!
A Closer Look at the Marble Gameand Other Structured ToysNumbered and Color CodedTrain Track for Independent BuildingLetteredMarbleGameStructured Lego Builds
TIP: Use items of high interest to supportsustained engagement and increased attentionto task.“Your child’s ‘obsessive interests’ andenthusiasm for specific things can also be ahuge strength, because once you have tappedinto his or her interests, you have foundpowerful motivations for your child tocommunicate and interact with you!”-Griffin and Sandler, 2010
Sometimes this requires us to really observethe child and think outside the box. . .53-Video not available
After Tapping Into the His Special Interest!54-Video not available
• We support children in playing productively,safely and INDEPENDENTLY during free play.• In essence, this is what all our/THERE hardwork was for.• It is great to see independence andgeneralization of skills.The Next Step. . .
Why is theSkill ofIndependentPlay soImportant?• Children with autism oftenhave a difficult time fillingtheir free time in anappropriate, safe manner.• It is important for them tolearn play skills and waysto fill their down time.• As they get older, this isconsidered leisure time, ifthey don’t know how to filltheir leisure time, they areunable to be productivemembers society.
One Last Tip- Be Playful and Engaging-Video not available
The best present you cangive your child is Presence!
For more resources and ideas visit my blog.We add a post at least once a week!http://considerateclassroom.blogspot.com
Resources Mentioned in the Presentation– Bailey, B.A. (2000). Conscious discipline. LovingGuidance: Oviedo, FL.– Benchaaban, D., Endo, S., Morrison, R., andSainato, D. (2002). Increasing play skills ofchildren with Autism using activity schedulesand correspondence training. Journal of EarlyIntervention.– Griffin, S. and Sandler, D. (2010). Motivate tocommunicate: 300 games and activities for yourchild with autism.– Loden Talmage, K. (2007). Climbing artobstacles in autism. www.tasksgallore.com– Porter, G. (2009). Pragmatic organizationaldynamic display. Mayer Johnson.60
Resources for Task Boxes• Henry, K.A. How do I teach this kid. IngramPublishing Services, May 2005.• Kabot, S. and Reeve, C. Building independence:how to create and use structured work systems.2012.• Tasks Galore. www.taskgalore.com(several publications and resources)My favorite for increasing play skills is Task Gallore-Let’s Play (It is the green book)
Other Great Resources-Bricker, D. and Squires, J. (2007).An activity-based approachto developing young children’s social emotionalcompetence.-Cardon, T. (2007). Initiations and interactions: earlyintervention techniques for children with Autism spectrumdisorder.- Greenspan, S. The Greenspan floor time approach.www.stanleygreenspan.com-Mahoney, G. and MacDonald, J.D. (2007). Autism anddevelopmental delays in young children: the responsiveteaching curriculum for parents and professionals.-Schwarz, P. and Kluth, P. (2008). Just give him the whale.-TEACCH Autism Program. The University of North Carolina.www.teacch.com-Warren, R.H. (2011). Quinn at school- relating, connectingand responding at school: a book for children ages 3-7.
Thank you for your time!Any questions, orcomments. . .