Risk Alert Interest in Other Children
Dr. Deborah Fein describes the many forms that interest in other children takes a child can express agression towards another child, for example, and this may be an expression of interest in this child. What is not typical is lack of interest in other children not playing with other children, or watching them, or even acknowledging their presence in the same space.
"By the time most children are about a year old, they're really interested in other children...Children who are at risk for autism or have autism are generally not interested in other children. "
— Deborah Fein PhD
Early Warning Signs related to Risk Alert Interest in Other Children
One symptom of autism is a clear lack of interest in other children. In this clip, Christian, who is on the autism spectrum, is shown staying away from other classmates. Whereas his classmates are looking at a book together, sitting closely and enjoying one another's company, Christian remains distant, neither joining in their play, nor watching their interaction.
Dr. Smith discusses how difficult it is for a child on the spectrum to engage in and sustain appropriate, cooperative play with others and why sometimes they may resort to aggressive behavior.
Children on the autism spectrum often show a disinterest in their peers, though they may seek out, respond to and engage with adults. In contrast to a shy or unsure child, children with autism will often not only fail to join or mimic the activities of their peers, but also often ignore them entirely, directing their attention towards objects or adults instead. Dr. Soorya illustrates how typically developing children seek out and interact with their peers in comparison to children on the autism spectrum.
Therapies related to Risk Alert Interest in Other Children
Lucas's mother tries unsuccessfully to engage Lucas in a game of legos. Lucas does not show an interest in this age appropriate toy or the prospect of interacting with his mother; rather, he disengages from her, focusing instead on some stray coins, staring at the wheels of a truck and eventually wandering off. Both Lucas' repetition of the word "coins" and his fixation on the truck wheels may reflect an intense sensory interest.
Therapists teach a group of children with ASD appropriate play skills to both promote their interest and their ability to succeed in a social interaction with a peer.
Teaching moments are maximized in a special education classroom. Specifically, the children learn to work together and follow a social pattern as a part of a musical game. In addition, a young boy with ASD practices interacting with his classmates and learns how to appropriately request from his peers.
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