Blog Archive

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Social Skills & Playing Games

Most people might think that playing games is a lot of fun for kids. As some of you probably know, this isn't always the case when dealing with our kiddos on the spectrum. Playing games can bring up a lot of different issues that you might never realize could be an issue until you are in the middle of dealing with a full on melt-down because someone didn't get to pick their favorite color, they didn't win the game or they don't want to let others take a turn. I have noticed in multiple settings and with many different children there were some major areas that needed to focused on to help them learn how to play games and have fun while doing so. For this reason, I created a few tools that have been helpful in teaching my students learn how to play games. By implementing these resources into my social skills lessons, it helped students learn how to play games by creating structure for them and by teaching them what to do during game playing. After introducing these tools into our game playing time I noticed an improvement in their ability to play games. I even noticed  my students started really enjoying the games and having fun playing games. They became excited about our "game time" and relied on the structure that was put into place to help them be successful at playing games. Obviously, this doesn't mean they each win every time. It does mean though that they have tools to help them know what to do if they don't win or don't get their favorite color. I have listed some tips that I hope are helpful, as well as other resources below. I hope that you will find them as helpful as I did! Happy Game Playing!!

Helpful tips: 

  • Use icons for children who are nonverbal to indicate "my turn is finished" OR "now it's your turn!"
    • This can help with teaching turn-taking as well
    • Examples:  

    • My turn is FINISHED!

  • Use a script for children who might not know what to say when their turn is finished, or to keep the game going
  • Role-play before you play games to help children understand how to implement the "Game Rules" themselves and even how to play the game
    • example- Show them how to appropriately respond if you don't win the game, how to take turns or how to congratulate the winner of the game
  • Set a timer for those children who need that structure so they know exactly how long they will be playing the game for
  • Read the rules ahead of time to figure out how you might need to make changes to the game to help your kiddo play (i.e.- adapted pieces, find only the colors instead of the colors and numbers, make sure all of the pieces are in the game before sitting children down to play)
  • Have children pick a different color or piece every time you play a game (to avoid future meltdowns for not getting their favorite color or piece) 

Playing the game Rules 

  • I created these rules to give structure to my students while playing games. I focused on the areas I noticed were causing the most issues while playing games. I suggest reviewing these rules before the game and leaving them out during the game. I also suggest referencing the rules if you notice that an issue might arise.
  • Click here for "Playing a Game Rules" downloadable version