#331 Social Interaction with Peers and Ideas for Groups of Preschoolers


On today’s show we’ll be answering questions from listeners including:

  • a mom of a kindergartener who has an autism diagnosis asks how to get her to play with her sister and other children as well as answer questions related to her day.
  • an SLP wants ideas for small groups of 4 preschoolers who are functioning at younger developmental levels.

Listen here:


Strategies for play with mom to improve social interaction during play routines:

  1. Tailor strategies for a child’s developmental age instead of his or her chronological age.
  2. Kids may need more assistance for social skill development one-on-one with an adult FIRST before interaction improves with other kids.
  3. If you’re stressed or don’t know exactly what to do with a child when you’re working on social skills, just PLAY!
  4. Begin your play routines with what a child does naturally during the day – sleeping, eating, bathing, playing outside, going to the store, going to daycare/preschool, etc… Examples on the show were Micky and Minnie’s characters and making them do all of these things.
  5. Give forced-choice questions when a child can’t answer questions. (Listen for ideas!)

Ideas for SLP with groups of preschoolers when she’s been spending lots of time managing behavior rather than therapy:

  1. Add more structure and move fast! Do each activity for 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Keep activities simple – rather than more complex – since they tend to get off task!
  3. Try a movement game to get started to help them regulate including social games with body/motor imitation.
  4. Adapt a move-sit-move-sit schedule for activities.
  5. Be the show! The kids will be focused on you and staying with the activity!
  6. Introduce imitation games at the table and other EASY table-top tasks such as play-doh, finger painting, stickers, etc… Address individual goals with requesting, following directions, etc…
  7. If it’s allowed and practical, have a snack! Targeting language with eating is one of the most functional goals you can address!
  8. Relay games from Let’s Talk About Talking, Teach Me To Talk: The Therapy Manual and Teach Me To Listen and Obey 2.
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