play sharksI try to share my challenges and successes in therapy so others can learn from them. As we know, as parents and therapists we have good days and bad days. A good day for me is when a child I am working with shows wonderful progress on his or her goals.

Yesterday I was working with a 4 year-old boy on the Autism spectrum. He is suddenly blossoming in his creative play. Just last summer he was starting to use a little representational person and talk for it following much modeling. During our session yesterday he took his shark (he loves sharks) and took it though nine scenarios, using props to illustrate his story. Our sharks got up and had breakfast (oatmeal and chocolate milk), went to the museum, the beach where we skipped stones in the water (threw Play-doh balls on the floor and counted our skips), piled into a bus and went to Taekwondo (that was a first for me—taking a busload of sharks to exercise!), took a bath, watched a big TV and went to bed in their sleeping bags and Play-doh blankets. Play-doh and simple wooden blocks were our props. As this little boy advances in his play skills, I pick up a block and say, “What is this?” and he incorporates it into play.

play sharks travelI am collaborating with his other therapists and with what goes on at his preschool. When the kids at school are using the block center for pirates, then we reinforce that play theme during therapy, expanding and giving him more ideas to relate at class.

What play ideas have you found helpful when working with higher level kids on the autism spectrum? Share in the comments below.