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Foundation Role Plays for Autism Role Plays for Working with Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders, Parents, Peers, Teachers, and Other Professionals

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Book - Foundation Role Plays for Autism Role Plays for Working with Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders, Parents, Peers, Teachers, and Other Professionals

by: Andrew Nelson
Foreword by Pamela Wolfberg

About the author:

Andrew Nelson, M.Ed. is an Education Specialist with the West Virginia Autism Training Center at Marshall University where he provides Family Focused Positive Behavior Support and training to parents, teachers, and professionals on a variety of autism-related topics. Andrew has worked with parents, teachers, and individuals on the autism spectrum in India using applied drama and role playing techniques. He is the co-founder of the International Association of Theatre for Autism ( His work has been noted in the Autism File and Tathaastu: So Be It magazines. Andrew also has a BFA in acting.

ISBN: 978-1-84905-063-0

Year: 2010

Publication Info: 160pp


Role play is an ideal tool for helping people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) develop and practice communication and social skills. It is also an effective way of informing others about what it’s like to have ASD, and of teaching professionals how individuals with ASD can best be supported.

Foundation Role Plays for Autism contains safe and structured role plays for working with different groups, including individuals with ASD, their teachers, caregivers, parents and peers. It provides materials for custom-making role plays to suit the specific needs of participants and photocopiable forms for tracking individual participants’ skills. An accompanying audio CD simulates scenarios such as taking down phone messages and following instructions from a teacher, helping individuals with ASD practice skills for coping with challenging situations before implementing them in real-life scenarios, and helping others to develop new perspectives on the challenges faced by individuals with ASD.

This hands-on, practical book will enable teachers, autism trainers and consultants and other professionals to develop and practice new skills for working with individuals with ASD, and their families and peers.



Foreword. Introduction. Research on the Use of Role Play. When to Role Play, When to Try Something Else. Generalization of Role Play Strategies. Examples for Setting Up a Role Play. Tips for Using This Book. Chapter 1: Role Play for Individuals on the Autism Spectrum. Case Study – Mark’s Tough Day Playback. ASD Developing Skills. 1.1 Supermarket Success. 1.2 First Day Jitters. 1.3 On This Island. 1.4 Defend A Friend. 1.5 All In The Timing. 1.6 Stranger Safety. 1.7 Can I Take a Message. 1.8 Home Alone. 1.9 Cafeteria Customs. ASD: Perspective. 1.10 Tough Day Playback. 1.11 Good Day Playback. 1.12 Our Interests. 1.13 My Turn To Teach. 1.14 Just As I Am. Chapter 2: Role Play for Teachers and Caregivers. Case Study – Katie’s Realization in a Specific Behavior Strategy Role Play . Teachers: Developing Skills. 2.1 100 Ways To Praise. 2.2 Definitions for Data. 2.3 Specific Behavior Strategies. 2.4 Warning Signs, Positive Signs. 2.5 In the Room. 2.6 Shaping. 2.7 Crisis Plan. 2.8 Small Victories. Teachers: Perspective. 2.9 Teaching the Hidden Curriculum. 2.10 Words, Words, Words. 2.11 It’s an Auditory Process – School. 2.12 The Other 16 Hours. 2.13 Tough Day Playback. 2.14 Good Day Playback. 2.15 Push-Pull. 2.16 The Stranger. 2.17 My Student’s Dream. Chapter 3: Role Play for Parents. Case Study – James and Cindy’s Parent-Guided Role Plays. Parents: Developing Skills. 3.1 IEP Day. 3.2 A Trip To The…. 3.3 100 Ways to Praise. 3.4 Warning Signs, Positive Signs. 3.5 Specific Behavior Strategies. 3.6 In the Room. 3.7 Shaping. 3.8 Crisis Plan. 3.9 Small Victories. 3.10 Stress Relief. 3.11 Restaurant Preparation. 3.12 Sibling Support. Parents : Perspective. 3.13 The Other 8 Hours. 3.14 It’s An Auditory Process – Home. 3.15 Words, Words, Words. 3.16 Tough Day Playback. 3.17 Good Day Playback. 3.18 Push-Pull. 3.19 The Stranger. 3.20 My Child’s Dream. Chapter 4: Role Play for Peers. Case Study: Jennifer’s Interactions in the Gentle Coach Role Play. Peers: Developing Skills. 4.1 Tell Someone About Autism. 4.2 InterActions. 4.3 Defend a Friend. 4.4 The Gentle Coach. 4.5 Bus Bully. Peers: Perspective. 4.6 Sensory Overload. 4.7 It’s An Auditory Process – Playground. 4.8 Just As I Am. 4.9 That’s Not Fair! 4.10 The Stranger. 4.11 I Don’t Understand. Chapter 5: Printable Tools for Facilitation. References. CD Track List.



This is a practical resource for anyone working with young people with autism spectrum disorder. It offers pre-prepared activities to enable participants to make choices and practise skills in a safe imaginary situation. I particularly loved the sections aimed at siblings, parents and peers as there are very few resources available for these groups…This is an excellent resource for therapists working with young people with high functioning autism.


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