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Social Development of Children with Autism (ASD)

January 29, 2018



Just like with anything else, there are stages in social development and it helps to be aware of these developmental levels when teaching your child with autism (ASD) social play skills. Keep in mind that there are also differences in play styles when it comes to gender. Girls are usually more able to engage in sustained play and are more likely to have more creative play. Boys on the other hand, are not quite as imaginative and often do not stay with one activity for very long.


According to the Brigance Inventory of Child Development, the following are the examples of stages of social development. The age in years and months is in parentheses:


  • Engages in simple game with others, such as rolling ball back and forth (1-0)

  • Imitates actions of another child (1-6)

  • Watches other children play, and attempts to join briefly (2-0)

  • Plays alone, in presence of other children (2-0)

  • Watches others play and plays near them (2-6)

  • Plays simple group games (e.g. Ring Around the Rosie) (2-6)

  • Begins to play with other children with adult supervision (2-6)

  • Begins to take turns (3-0)

  • Takes turns with assistance (3-6)

  • Forms temporary attachment to one playmate (3-6)

  • Can casually play cooperatively, but may need assistance (3-6)

  • Takes turns and shares, without supervision (4-6)

  • Plays cooperatively with up to two children for at least 15 minutes (5-0)

  • Has several friends, but one special friend (5-0)

  • Plays cooperatively in large group games (5-6)


With this knowledge, children with autism (ASD) can be taught the age-appropriate play skills and how to interact with their peers.

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