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Melinda J. Smith: Teaching Playskills to Children with Autism Spectrum : DRL Books, New York, NY, 2001, 174 pp

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1007/s10803-009-0783-7
  • Book Review
  • Education
  • Medicine
  • Psychology


BOOK REVIEW Melinda J. Smith: Teaching Playskills to Children with Autism Spectrum DRL Books, New York, NY, 2001, 174 pp Stephanny F. N. Freeman Published online: 20 June 2009 � The Author(s) 2009. This article is published with open access at Well done Dr. Smith. Although you state, ‘‘I am not a formally accredited expert and I do not have any data or evidence,’’ you provided a very useful and well-framed resource for professionals and parents. It is rare that a book written by a parent/mental health professional can combine the use of practical language and personal experience with strong evidenced-based theory to provide a hands-on guide for anyone working with a child with autism. Parents especially need this book, Teaching Playskills to Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder’’ as so many frequently state, ‘‘I forgot how to play,’’ or ‘‘I don’t know how—I was never a big ‘player’ when I was a child.’’ Professionals can use this book to guide their own framework in play instruction. At first glance, it looked as if this book was a basic ‘‘how to’’ guide on activities of play—for the very naı¨ve parent which is mostly what is available in the popular literature. Instead, however, this book provides a strong theoretical basis, developmental approaches to cur- riculum, and practical suggestions and resources that are appropriate for therapeutic environments as well as the home/family environment. Most impressive was Chapter 1. Clearly Dr. Smith has educated herself on the wealth of very specific and discrete knowledge about different theories of play, different approaches to teaching play, different categories of play opportunities, and sequences of play. Empirical articles in the field of social development and play in both the popu- lations of children with typical development and children with autism are frequently very specific and pointed towards one particular domain (e.g., toy play, peer play sequences

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