The objective of playing at the playground is for your child to be independently able to play on the playground equipment and interact with the other children.
The playground is a great way to work on multiple skills. In order to be able to play on the equipment your child will have to work on his gross motor skills (for example climbing on the equipment), social skills(for example saying hello to other kids), and sensory input (for example swinging).
Scout out your neighborhood, talk to friends and see if they have any recommendations for a good playground: a playground with newer and safe equipment and preferable separate equipment for different age groups. The equipment for the younger kids is a great starting point and if they have equipment for older kids as well your child will already be familiar with the playground by the time he’s ready to play on it.
Playing on/with the equipment
What to do
- Take your child to the playground.
- Take your child around the playground and show your child all the different pieces of the equipment: slide, swing, climbing pieces and whatever else they have at your playground.
- See if your child shows any interest in any of the equipment. If so take your child to that piece, for example a slide.
- Show your child how to climb up to the slide and how to use the slide. Climb up to the slide with your child, go down the slide with your child or hold your child’s hand while your child is sliding down the slide.
- Repeat using the same equipment a couple of times and then move on to something new.
Make sure your child is safe at all times. Hold your child’s hand if necessary and make sure that all the equipment is safe to play with/on. Be aware that some of the climbing equipment is very steep and some of the other equipment has openings in unexpected places. It is also great to bring an older sibling or friend to the playground who can show your child how to use the equipment.
Your child might be scared of the playground at first. Don’t let that discourage you. New situations are often scary and overwhelming for children with autism. Take your child to the playground often and practice using the equipment. Over time your child will get used to it and enjoy playing on the playground. For questions or concerns please join our help desk.