StoryBook Play is an idea that has been bouncing around in my brain for a long time. In my experiences working with children on the Autism Spectrum and their families I have repeatedly seen the struggle that both parents and children have in learning to play. Many parents forget what it was like to play, or struggle to stay focused on the purpose of play (hint: to have fun) when their child appears uninterested. From these observations and my experiences I have developed an approach I call StoryBook Play.
I thought it might be helpful to start with a basic attempt to explain what StoryBook Play actually is. I will go into details, background and tips in the future, but want to start with the simplest description.
1. Play is good. There is lots of research that I will likly post in the future but let me sum up- play is good. For the brain, for social skills, for connecting to others.
2. For some kids, play is hard. It's abstract, confusing and requires a lot of effort that, especially for kids on the Autism spectrum, is overwhelming. These kids need to learn that play can be fun.
This is where you, and StoryBook Play come in. StoryBook Play could been seen as 2 parts:
THE BOOKS- StoryBook Play books are written to be easy to play. Simple, basic narratives with clear actions. It is not about the pirates secretly fighting each other for treasure and learning the true meaning of friendship. It's about pirates walking up the steps to the boat. They sail in the water. They land and drop the anchor. They find the treasure. It's concrete and easy to translate into playable action.
THE APPROACH- In a nutshell it's about having fun, and finding a way to set yourself and your child up for success when it comes to playing with toys. It's a way to intentionally be available, present and accepting of your child to support them in doing something that may be very hard for them. Hope this helps.Questions? Comments? Please leave them below!
StoryBook Play is the creation of Alternative Choices therapist, Kelly Peters. Kelly has been working with a wide range of clients but spent much of her early career developing play and social skills in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org