Children With Autism and the Importance of Interaction, Play and Emotion
Laboratory studies repeatedly demonstrate that autistic individuals experience difficulties in recognizing and understanding the emotional expressions of others and naturalistic observations show that they use such expressions infrequently and inappropriately to regulate social exchanges. Dominant theories attribute this facet of the ASD phenotype to abnormalities in a social brain network that mediates social-motivational and social-cognitive processes such as face processing, mental state understanding, and empathy.
Playfulness in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is affected by behaviors inherently related to their condition; children with ASD tend to be less playful than their typically developing counterparts. Behavioral challenges for play in children with ASD include fixed interests, lack of flexibility, impaired social skills, engagement in ritual repetitive behaviors, low levels of pretend play, anger or frustration, hyper- or hyposensitivities, and difficulty understanding nonverbal cues. Prior to in-depth examination of the excerpts as they relate to the research questions, it is pertinent to contextualize participants’ perspectives about play experiences with their children. In general, parents’ play experiences were defined by codes related to emotions regarding play, relevance of play as part of a routine, and awareness of the child’s diagnosis. All participants expressed positive emotions related to play experiences with their children. Satisfaction, happiness, and trust were among the most frequently expressed emotions.
This is where a lot of children can face conflict and where inappropriate behaviours begin. Many autistic people can struggle with others coming to different conclusions or 'agreeing to disagree'. It may not be possible to teach your child to actually understand another person's point of view – the main goal early on is to get them to recognise that it may just be different and accept that. You could do this by asking your child to compare a picture of a sibling or other family member with themselves and talking about how the two are different. You can discuss the physical differences then gradually move on to more abstract differences in line with how much the child understands.
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