Children with autism benefit when invited to play by others

The social skills of children with autism can improve when "typically developing" peers invite them to play, according to new research from the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center.
Interacting with other children is often difficult and stressful for children with autism, therefore, they may avoid social interactions.  If a "typically developing" child asks them to play, the initial interaction is stressful for the child with autism, but the child's overall reaction is positive.   
"Most children consider playgrounds a fun place to interact with other kids, but for children with autism, this may be a very challenging and stressful environment,” said lead author Blythe Corbett, Ph.D. “One of the key places we learn about social rules growing up is during play, but if you don’t participate, chances are you’re not going to learn the rules or be motivated to interact with other children.  Although children with autism may experience increased stress in social interactions, it was encouraging to see that reciprocal socialization can be facilitated by peer solicitation. It all starts with a simple bid to play.
The study, "Biobehavioral profiles of arousal and social motivation in autism spectrum disorders", is published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

©Mary M Conneely T/A Advocacy in Action

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