Autism is a developmental disorder that according to the CDC affects 1 in 54 children. It usually begins to present symptoms around the age of two. Children with autism fall on a spectrum and present with symptoms that range in severity.
- Delay/absence of speech and language
- Difficulty with social situations and interactions
- Repetitive behaviors
- Lack of eye contact
- Failure to respond to calls for attention
- Intense focus on objects or tasks
While play therapy has recently become more popular, it is not a new concept. In fact, Freud was using play therapy back in the early 1900’s. Play therapy involves both directive and non-directive play.
Non-directive play therapy is the more preferred option when it comes to play therapy. Non-directive play is a form of play that gives the child the freedom of expression. They get to choose with what and how they want to play. This is not to be confused with independent play which is when children are left to play alone without other children or parental involvement. Independent play is an important skill but children on the spectrum already tend to play alone, even when being encouraged to join in with their peers. Your child may need a little push and some guidance to learn different types of play. When practicing non-directive play you want to be alongside your child; talking to them as they play.
Remember, another characteristic of autism is difficulty with language development. So even if your child may not be answering your questions or carrying on a conversation, it is still important to model language skills. You can narrate your child’s actions, make comments, and create dialogue for their toys.
Directive play gives the adult a bit more control by allowing you to select what they will be playing with and asking the child to carry out certain tasks. Directive play is usually used only after a strong relationship is created between the child and the adult leading the therapy. Toys are chosen to help evoke a specific emotional response and then teach proper behavior to deal with those emotions.
BiOBUDDi blocks are an eco-friendly alternative to some of the more common building blocks. They are sourced from remnants of sugar cane that are left over after processing. Sugar cane is a sustainable source and the final product is 100% recyclable blocks.
The blocks come in an assortment of categories from wild animals to town and city life themes. They can be used individually or combined with brands such as DUPLO and LEGO with which they are compatible.
Most importantly BiOBUDDi is environmentally friendly and safe for children!
Using BiOBUDDi with Play Therapy
Building blocks are an excellent choice for play therapy. They present the opportunity to develop the skills that children with autism lack.
Depending on where your child falls on the spectrum, developing communication skills will vary. For example, they can communicate which specific BiOBUDDi set they want to build by verbalizing that with their words or their communication device, or by simply reaching for and focusing their attention on that set.
You can comment on the color of the blocks or verbalize your child's actions. This can be done in the form of full sentences or pointed vocabulary such as “blocks”, “build”, or “green”.
As you speak you are modeling vocabulary, tone, and intonation which is important to helping them read social cues.
BiOBUDDI is excellent for teaching social skills. It has been studied that children with autism are much more likely to play with others when using building blocks. They can practice sharing and turn taking when completing a joint task. The extra person included in play also creates more exposure to language.
If your child is using one of the specific BiOBUDDi sets, they will get a booklet with picture directions to build the structures. The creativity of building blocks gives the opportunity to build in many ways. This can present possible hiccups when building and the chance to problem solve and correct mistakes. It also gives your child reason to ask for help and in turn work on their verbal communication skills.
Since BiOBUDDi comes in a variety of themes they can be used to address emotional & behavioral issues. The character sets can be used in roll playing situations of the past where the child acted unacceptably and can be used to model correct behavioral responses. They can also be used to roll play and practice social skills for future situations that the child may be anxious about.
Whether directive or non-directive, there is no better way to teach these fundamental skills then through your child’s favorite past time-play. Building blocks have been a staple in every family home for years and with BiOBUDDi’s eco-friendly blocks you can raise awareness about sustainability while gifting your child a timeless, educational toy.