Some of the best social games for children with PDD involve encouraging them to work together as a team. Children with PDD may find it easier to complete a task on their own than to work together, so you’ll need to develop the game in a way that pushes them to work as a team. To do this, give each member of a team a task that forces them to help each other. For example, one person might be the one to give instructions about how to build a structure out of blocks, another might be the one to find the right pieces, and a third might be the one to actually build the structure. Alternatively, one might give instructions for how to get through a masking-tape maze, while another will need to get through the maze while blindfolded. These games give children with PDD practice in communicating effectively with each other, asking for help, and following basic rules.
Other social games that can help children with PDD focus on showing them how to identify emotions. One example of an emotion game is "Guess the Emotion," in which one child gets a card with an emotion (such as "frustration") written on it. That child must act out the emotion, and the viewers need to take turns guessing which emotion is being acted out. Movies are a good tool to use in emotion games. You can play a movie, or scenes from a movie, to children and then ask them to answer questions about the emotions in the storyline. For example, you might ask the following questions about one scene in a movie:
- How is the girl feeling at the beginning of the scene?
- How is the girl feeling at the end of the scene?
- Why did the girl’s feelings change?
- Why does the girl act the way she does at the end of the scene?
- What could the girl’s father have done that would have made her feel and act differently at the end of the scene?
Role Playing and Social Story Games
Role playing and social stories, which are closely related to each other, can also be effective in teaching social skills to children with PDD. For example, you might have a child act out several ways in which a person could react to the same frustrating situation. This can lead to a discussion about which reaction would be most appropriate under the circumstances. You could use social stories similarly by asking children to discuss what the most appropriate reaction would be to a specific situation and then making a story to illustrate that reaction. Both of these social games for children with PDD are effective because they allow the children to step outside of the situation and examine the issues without feeling defensive or emotionally attached to it.