Take Out the Toys
Building Early Toy Play for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Other Social Communication Difficulties
Take Out the Toys is the second booklet in the Make Play R.O.C.K. booklet series for parents of young children with autism.
This booklet focuses on expanding your child’s “functional play” – the kind of early toy play that involves doing conventional or “expected” actions on toys, like putting shapes into a sorter or building a tower with blocks.
Why Is Early Toy Play Important?
Many studies have shown that the better the play skills of a young child with autism, the better his play and language skills will be later on.
Your child’s play may not be as complex or creative as that of typically developing children. But by using specific interaction strategies during your everyday play activities, there’s a lot you can do build his skills.
How Take Out the Toys Helps
Take Out the Toys offers simple, research-based strategies for building your child’s early toy play through imitation – helping him learn to copy the actions he sees you perform on toys. Imitation is a critical skill that not only helps to develop play skills, but is also connected to social interaction and language skills.
Take Out the Toys helps you:
- Understand how early toy play develops and how the play of children with ASD differs from that of typically developing children
- Learn powerful interaction strategies to engage your child in play (the most important first step is to make it more fun to play together than to play alone)
- Identify your child’s stage of early toy play and his next steps in functional play
- Use research-based strategies to help your child learn to imitate more advanced forms of play during fun, everyday play activities
- Enable your child to transfer newly-learned play skills to a variety of toys and play partners
Booklet highlights include:
- A checklist for identifying your “play style” and understanding how this affects your child’s opportunities to learn.
- A checklist for identifying your child’s stage of early toy play and the next step he can take
- Concrete examples and illustrations of parents using Take Out the Toys strategies to build their child’s play skills
- A Toy Play Plan to help you plan your child’s next play step and how you will help him take it