Saturday, January 7, 2012
It is well documented that children with autism spectrum disorders have difficulties with imitation skills. In the "old days,"we would address this with our typical gross motor imitation goal where we would say "Do this!" and the child would imitate touching head, patting belly, etc. Well, so what???? The purpose of imitating in young children is to enable them to learn new meaningful skills and to engage in reciprocal social interactions with peers and adults. Therefore, we must teach imitation skills within contexts that foster such reciprocal interactions and provide opportunities to learn new meaningful skills. Some examples may include teaching imitation during a play-dough activity with a peer, while playing with bath toys with a sibling, while playing with sand toys in a sandbox, during care taking routines such as brushing teeth and washing hands, etc. Please share some examples of teaching imitation skills in meaningful ways.