Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Reciprocal Play

One of the things that I've been so excited to see, this year, is Reciprocal Play emerging with a few of "my kids". Reciprocal Play is important in play activities like pillow fights, tag, pool play etc.  ALL of my kids enjoy being tickled, squashed by pillows and chased, to some extent.  But the REAL magic is when THEY want to do those things to ME!

Reciprocal Play requires the ability to give away the 'fun' to someone else, while realizing that it is STILL fun for the giver.  This is REALLY a difficult concept for most kids on the spectrum.  Once they get that THEY still have fun, can explore "the dark side" and their friend has fun, too, it gradually increases.  It is difficult for them to get 'outside' themselves to initiate that type of play, or even return it.

This is a Level 6 skill and usually needs some scaffolding to get attain it.  As kids begin to emerge into level 5 and 6, I introduce sword play (using foam pipe insulators) and encourage my swimming kids to push me into the pool or to splash me.  When parents go on vacation, I encourage them to have pillow fights in the hotel rooms or try to get some splashing games in the pool.  When your child begins to start chasing YOU for fun, you are on your way!


  1. Hello Karen, I saw the autism connection on your Facebook profile so came to look. It's very interesting and when I have time I'll read more. Autism is a cause I support, that and Preserving Michigan's inland lakes. The lakes connection because of growing up on Union Lake and the autisum because of friends and cousins who have grandchildren who live with it.

  2. Great article! Thanks for sharing.


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