We updated our Play glossary page with selections from “Autistic Play at Forest School : pretend play characteristics seen otherwise” and “About “Functional Play” | Just Stimming…“.
…monotropism can be very effective in enabling forest school practitioners to comprehend the rationales behind autistic play behaviours so as to appreciate and validate autistic play culture, and to discriminate whether and how autistic children need support.Autistic Play at Forest School : pretend play characteristics seen otherwise | Forest School Association
When differences in play do not align to socially constructed understanding of normalcy, as it happens to autistic children, they are generally pathologised and considered faults of the individual to be fixed (Waltz, 2020). It follows that autistic children should be thought to play like typical children, through adult-led experiences, in order to improve later development outcomes. As a result, the space and time available to autistic children to experiment spontaneous play, and feel content and capable about it, are significantly reduced, making play a main site for the production of disabling experiences (Conn, 2015; Conn and Drew 2017; Willans 2020).Autistic Play at Forest School : pretend play characteristics seen otherwise | Forest School Association
…one key step is to acknowledge the existence of patterns in the ways autistic children experience play and think about their play behaviours not as something puzzling or problematic, but rather as characteristics of autistic play culture: expression of their neurological functioning and of their experience of living in a society that sees autism through a deficit-based lens. Practically, this implies focusing on “what children do and what it means to them”, instead of paying attention only to the external features of play and how they appear deficient in relation to normative developmental frameworks (Conn, 2015: 1193; Conn and Drew 2017; Person, 2020; Willans, 2020).Autistic Play at Forest School : pretend play characteristics seen otherwise | Forest School Association
My play — not my “behavior,” my play — was deeply functional, for me. Those hours and hours of often silent scripting while regulating my body let me develop a deep bank of fluent language that other people could understand. When I can rattle off fluid paragraphs to you about a topic, it’s because I’ve put in those hours of scripting and practice, even today — and because, long before I was practicing how to explain autism or talk about policy, I was practicing different sentence structures for hours in the backyard. That was not at all apparent from an outside point of view. But that’s what I was doing. And when I wasn’t scripting, I was making and reciting lists and schedules — and that was giving me a structure for understanding my world.
And most importantly? It just felt good. It was calming and reassuring. I am told that is one of the main developmental purposes of play, in fact.About “Functional Play” | Just Stimming…