Does your child like trains, animated videos, Angry Birds, Dora, Star Wars, Frozen, toilets flushing, plane propellers? While some of these affinities may be considered to be conventional, others may not. Regardless of your child’s affinity, using those affinities to bridge the gap in their social, communication and peer play needs is key in raising children with autism.
Affinities are “a spontaneous or natural liking”. We all have affinities. The things that we like, we know a lot about, and enjoy doing. My son’s affinity was for Disney’s Animated Sing Along when he was younger. Eventually, that grew into him drawing animated characters. And today that affinity has developed into a career as an animator (most recently animating Bob the Builder).
In the Friend 2 Friend – Integrated Play Groups programs, our philosophy is that affinities are a place to start learning, playing and making friends. Knowing a child’s affinity enables us to build mutually engaging play themes and materials that bring together children with autism [novice players] with their typically developing peers and siblings [expert players] in meaningful play experiences.
At Friend 2 Friend Social Learning Society – we take play seriously!
Does your child have an affinity? What do you do to include that affinity in their play?