Role playing is a great way to introduce new vocabulary, increase sentence length, encourage communication between children, and increase their comfort level with new experiences. This year we have already created some amazing pretend play scenarios and introduced them in both small and large group lessons. So far, we have had a grocery store, a pizza shop, a post office, and now a doctor's office.
Visuals are great for young children and help extend pretend play. Visuals can even support expressive (words they use) and receptive (words they understand) language skills. We used numerous visuals in many different ways. In the grocery store, we used signs to help categorize the foods on the shelves (diary, veggies, fruit, etc.). We used pretend food, empty containers, empty food boxes, a cash register, shopping baskets, and recycled grocery bags to add realism and familiarity. In the pizza shop, we used a pretend pizza kit and "order" sheets. Then, we also made individual pizzas to eat for snack. For our upcoming doctor's office, we will use toy doctor materials, a visual "medical chart," pictures of x-rays, and dress-up clothes. The visuals I choose to use in school linked in early math and literacy concepts, as well as, promoted early writing skills. Remember when you were younger and used a note pad to take someone's order or write someone a note? See below for some materials you can print and and use at home!
Here are a few great articles that give more ideas and information about pretend play
If your child is not ready for role playing and pretend play, DON'T WORRY, we will keep working on it in school....but check out this great article for foundational play skills. http://www.letstalksls.com/resource-library/autism/teaching-child-play