Q Can PlaySteps® books only be used with children with autism?
No. PlaySteps books have been effective in teaching independent skills to some children with Down Syndrome, students with multiple disabilities, as well as young typical children.
How many times will we have to practice?
Some children learn after just a few times, and others need to practice for several weeks to acquire basic constructive play skills. The first play construction tends to take longer to teach, since the child is also learning the mechanics of pointing, turning the pages, matching the pieces, etc. Success at this level generally makes the next constructions easier.
Should we practice several times a day?
This is very dependent on the age of the child, but it's important to remember that we are teaching play. We want it to be fun and not 'work'. In general, we do not have the child do the complete toy construction more than once or twice in a session. It's important for the child to see the completed product and not just take it apart immediately to redo.
What age group can use PlaySteps?
The beginning levels of the PlaySteps books target children 3 to 8 years old. As the levels increase in difficulty, they are more challenging, use smaller parts and may be age appropriate for somewhat older students.
Does my child need to be verbal before he can use these books?
PlaySteps have been used effectively with both verbal and non-verbal students. Since the directions come from the pictures, it is not necessary for them to be able to follow complex verbal directions.
What skills are necessary before using the PlaySteps books?
Matching identical objects and matching objects to pictures are skills which are important and may need to be taught separately first.
Are the PlaySteps books washable?
While they should not be immersed, the pages are laminated on both sides and can be wiped clean with a damp cloth.
Soft velcro dots came with my book. What are these for?
Some children have poor fine motor skills which make page turning difficult. Placing a velcro 'spacer' on the bottom right corner on the back of each page will lift the page slightly making it easier for the child to grasp.
Why should I avoid too much talking while teaching my child to use the PlaySteps?
The goal is independent play. If you direct the child for each step while teaching, he will learn to wait for you, instead of looking at the picture directions. It's important to be aware of this from the beginning as it is difficult to remove yourself from the activity after the child has learned to wait for your help.
Why do children with autism do particularly well with the PlaySteps books?
Children with autism often have difficulty understanding language. Picture cues presented in a clear sequence of tasks or events help them understand what is expected of them.
Can parents or siblings use PlaySteps to teach at home?
Yes. Parents working on play skills in the home can use these materials. It is helpful to have a designated lesson area with few distractions to help the child focus on the task. Older siblings can be encouraged to help teach as well after they are familiar with the instructions. Once the child can complete constructions independently, create opportunities for the siblings to build together.
Are the toys included with PlaySteps books?
No. Toys must be purchased separately.