Is play important for children with autism?

Learn about: Is play important for children with autism? from Sarah Clifford Scheflen, MS, CCC-SLP,...
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Is play important for children with autism?

Children with Autism display deficits in play. And many times, therapists overlook this and what I find is that children who work on their play skills do better later on. Play is related to their overall language, cognitive development. And when I see kids who come into my office and it is just time to free play, the kids who know how to play they grab a kid and they have a way to interact with them. And the children who lack those skills, they are often wondering around the room and not sure what to do. You go on a play date. If you don´t know how to play, it is hard to interact with your peers. So make sure that your therapist is targeting play. There are different steps that children go through in play and I think it is important to really have a therapist who can recognize where your child is functioning because you cannot have a conversation before you start to talk, you cannot play at the highest level until you learn all the steps. And teach to play is part of our teach to talk series and we teach families how to appropriately teach their child how to play with toys and its critical in a child´s development.

Learn about: Is play important for children with autism? from Sarah Clifford Scheflen, MS, CCC-SLP,...


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Sarah Clifford Scheflen, MS, CCC-SLP

Speech Language Pathologist

Sarah Cilfford Scheflen, MS, CCC-SLP is a pediatric clinical speech–language pathologist who specializes in working with children with autism and other developmental disorders. She works exclusively with children, primarily between the ages of 12 months to eight years.

Sarah is the founder of Scheflen Speech–Language Pathology, Inc., her private practice in Santa Monica, California, as well as the co-founder (together with autism advocate Jenny McCarthy) of Teach2Talk, LLC, a producer of quality educational products including video–modeling DVDs that teach children a variety of skills including appropriate behavior, social skills, play and language. 

She is also the senior speech–language pathologist on staff at an intensive partial–hospitalization program for autism located at a major public research university located in Los Angeles, California, where Sarah has provided therapy to hundreds of children with autism spectrum disorders and conducted research into various treatment modalities. 

Sarah is a frequent speaker and guest lecturer, and her research focuses on teaching play, social skills and language to children through video modeling.

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