Inside the Mind of a Child With Autism
A way to teach children about eye contact, joint play, and friendship:
Therapists who specialize in autism often use a child’s own interests, toys or obsessions as a way to connect, and sometimes to reward effort and progress on social skills. The more eye contact a child makes, for example, the more play time he or she gets with those precious maps or stuffed animals.
But now a group of scientists and the author of a new book are suggesting that those favorite activities could be harnessed in a deeper, more organic way. If a child is fascinated with animated characters like Thomas the Tank Engine, why not use those characters to prompt and reinforce social development?
Millions of parents do this routinely, if not systematically, flopping down on the floor with a socially distant child to playact the characters themselves.