One major challenge for the parents of children on the autism spectrum is how they can help their child learn to play and socialize with their typically-developing peers. A recent study funded by Autism Speaks, has published findings on a study that was designed to measure the benefits of the Integrated Play Groups model.
The Integrated Play Group Model
Children with ASD may be challenged and/or restricted in social interactions and communicating, thus they may likely be excluded from play by their typically-developing peers. The Integrated Play Groups (IPG) model provides guidance to children on the autism spectrum when interacting in creative play with their typical peers. During IPG, an adult assists by initiating play without specifically directing play. This program differs from more traditional, highly structured programs of teaching social skills to children with ASD.
The IPG model is designed to help social development and relationship building in children with ASD. Moving children with ASD toward play that involves interaction and imagination rather than a repetitive and solitary play pattern offers them opportunities to better connect with their peers.
Benefits Of IPG Are Highlighted In Study
The study report that appears in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, focused on measuring the benefits of the IPG model. During a 12-week period, the study involved 48 children with autism who ranged in ages 5 through 10, and 144 same aged typically-developing children. Guided by the IPG program, the children engaged in free play, which was initiated by a trained guide who suggested a theme that is designed to encourage socialization, communication and imagination among the children.
The researchers concluded that after following the IPG program, the children with ASD showed improvement in their ability to interact with children they didn’t previously know. Their ability to engage in pretend play increased as well.
Results Indicate IPG Model Is Promising
The findings of the study are promising in more ways than one. The results suggest that the IPG model is a beneficial treatment that addresses social play delays in children with ASD.
But not only do the children with ASD benefit by the model, but the model exposes their typically developing peers to the challenges presented by children affected with ASD. The IPG model encourages flexibility of typically developing children with their social interactions with the children with ASD.
The results of the study also reinforce the benefits of incorporating the IPG model into regular classroom settings.
The Importance of Social and Play Skills
At Creating Brighter Futures, we understand the importance of developing well-rounded social skills and play skills. We offer individualized programs based on your child’s specific needs. For your free one-on-one consultation with our clinical director, contact us today at (734) 926-0740.