BEGINNING ACTIVITIES ON THEIR OWN RATHER THAN FOLLOWING THE DIRECTION OF ADULTS
Children who are initiators make their own choices and decisions about the nature and direction of their activities. They initiate across a variety of situations, such as having conversations with others, starting new games, changing activities with the same toys, or asking for help to solve problems.
STRATEGIES TO PROMOTE INITIATION
- Get into your child’s world.
- Expect your child to interact.
- Communicate less so your child communicates more.
- Play with your child with toys.
- Respond to unintentional vocalizations, facial displays, and gestures as if they were meaningful conversations.
- Communicate without asking questions
- Follow your child’s lead.
FACTORS TO CONSIDER
- Child-initiated behavior is the hallmark of active learning.
- The play behaviors children initiate on their own generally reflect their current level of thinking understanding, and reasoning.
- All children initiate developmentally meaningful behaviors.
- The idea that children learn through routine, self-initiated activities contrasts with many developmental and therapeutic activities.
- The types of toys that are available and the ways that adults ask children to use them can affect children’s use of active learning strategies
- Children are likely to respond to information, guidance, or direction related to activities they initiate.
- Children are likely to attend longer when adult interactions focus on actions or activities that the children themselves have initiated.
Reference: Mahoney, Gerald, and James David MacDonald. Autism and Developmental Delays in Young Children. Pro Ed, 2007.
This newsletter is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.