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Peer Play and the Autism Spectrum: The Art of Guiding Children's Socialization and Imagination [Paperback]

Pamela J. Wolfberg

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Book Description

1 Mar 2004 193128217X 978-1931282178
This practical guide offers an introduction to the basic principles, tools and techniques that comprise the Integrated Play Groups model, designed to support children of diverse ages and abilities on the autism spectrum (novice players) in mutual play experiences with typical peers and siblings (expert players). Small groups of children regularly play together under the guidance of an adult facilitator (play guide) through a carefully tailored system of support. The emphasis is on maximizing children's developmental potential as well as intrinsic desire to play, socialize and form meaningful relationships with peers. At the same time, an equally important focus is on teaching the peer group to be more accepting, responsive and inclusive of children who relate and play in different ways. This innovative book is full of forms, checklists and other tools to facilitate implementation.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Autism Asperger Publishing Co,US (1 Mar 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193128217X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931282178
  • Product Dimensions: 27.9 x 21.5 x 1.7 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,210,947 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, Practical and Refreshing 25 Oct 2003
By Anna Martin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is an excellent practical resource for promoting play in children with autism or ASD. This book begins from a philosophy that incorporates and respects all children. It provides numerour practical resources and instructions for setting up integrated play groups. It incorporates research and resources. A refreshing book I can't wait to apply to children with ASD in my occupational therapy practice
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book there is to help your child overcome autism. 2 Jan 2006
By Katy in San Francisco - Published on Amazon.com
This book has been the single most important reference book I've used to help my son overcome autism.

Two years ago -- my 4 year old son didn't know how to relate to other children, he didn't speak to other children, he would just stare at them as if they were bugs he was studying. Using the methods expertly outlined in this magnificent book -- my son now plays with others, chats away with them, and has learned much more about how to function in the neuro-typical world. Since the business of children is play -- lack of play skills keeps most children with autism from taking part in childhood activities.

Autism is a communicative and social disorder, this book did more than I could possibly say to help me learn how to teach my son to communicate and to play with others. This book taught me, and can teach all parents and caregivers, that we ourselves can do so much to help our children overcome autism's ill effects, and the basic core of that is in helping them learn how to play.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the many tools to use with treating PDD 21 Feb 2006
By Olivia G - Published on Amazon.com
There is so much out there about Autism, classified as a pervasive developmental and neuropsychiatric disorder, whose causes are not fully understood. I feel this book is not limited to those with PDD or ASD; it is useful for any child, as other reviewers have mentioned.

Some of the techniques that may be useful in treating a child with PDD, are the systems used in Integrated Play Groups, so well outlined in this book. It seems particularly valuable in mainstreaming a child into "neuro-typical" culture, something that we caregivers want for our loved ones with PDD.

However please remember, in spite of the tone of this book, that with Autism Spectrum Disorders there are no silver bullets, and "play therapy" should not be seen as the end all of treatments for a child with PDD. It should, at best, be viewed as one of the many tools at a caregiver's disposal.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The 'Bible' for Social Skills Practitioners 21 Feb 2008
By Marcy Willard - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is the `bible' for social skills coaches, as far as I can tell. I read every one of the peer-reviewed, well researched, books I can get my hands on about Autism and peer-play. This is the best.

In the forward of this book, one of Dr. Wolfberg's professors comments that, "[Pamela's] students turned out to be much more capable than I had ever imagined once the multiple supports were established in these intense initial coaching sessions." Rather than seeing Autism as a static disorder with a certain set of skills to work with, Dr. Wolfberg uses her sensitive and in-depth account of Autism to understand the amazing potential of every child.

The purpose of this Field Manual is to provide practitioners and caregivers a guide to address the needs of children with Autism in a social setting. Her Integrated Playgroup Model is well researched (there is an extensive log of her studies in Appendix B). Dr. Wolfberg describes IPG as, "designed to support children of diverse abilities on the autism spectrum (novice players) in mutually joined play experiences with typical peers and siblings (expert players)." She outlines 6 main challenges for children with Autism in play situations: reciprocity, imagination, sensory processing, Theory of Mind (generally this is the inability to take account of the perspectives and feelings of others), and ritualized patterns.

Dr. Wolfberg goes into detail about how each of these issues presents difficulty in both the `Symbolic Dimension' and the `Social Dimension'. The Symbolic Dimension involves manipulation play, functional play, and symbolic-pretend play. The Social Dimension revolves around the typical roles children play as: onlookers, parallel players, players with common focus, coopertive play, and peer group entry. Peer group entry has long been known as the most difficult and sophisticated form of play skill.

More importantly, Pamela Wolberg understands that these common play skills, we have all seen in action or remember from our childhoods, are critical and essential for development through the lifespan. Rather than marvel at how typical children are able to pick up these skills in a more natural developmental sequence, Pamela Wolfberg dissects the sequence of play skills in order to include children with Autism in similiar activities. Her book has a broad and deep scope, preparing practitioners to address the various challenges of social interaction for children with Autism. Further, Dr. Wolberg is extremely helpful and supportive as a resource to parents and practioners. She is authentic in her desire to spread the word about how to properly prepare Autistic children for the important world of play.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for inclusive schools 30 April 2008
By Paula - Published on Amazon.com
If you are working to support students on the playground, in after-school programs, or just in the context of daily social interactions in the classroom, you need this book. It is filled with great ideas for teaching new skills, helping students learn about play, and creating inclusive social opportunities in general.
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