Tuesday, December 2, 2014

American Boy Dolls Teach Autism Understanding

Autism can be a difficult condition for people to understand. While compassion should be shown to those who have the disability, compassion for autism is something that doesn’t naturally occur to many kids, even though the condition itself is a lot more prevalent than most people think.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 out of 68 babies in the U.S. are born with a condition that falls under the autism spectrum. This represents a 119.4 percent increase from 1 out of 150 births in 2000, which makes autism the fastest-growing developmental disability in the country. These facts highlight the need for parents to be more proactive in guiding their children accordingly. To help with this, several toy makers create boy dolls specifically designed to promote autism awareness among children.

These toys are useful aids in teaching kids with autism how to be more empathetic. Researchers from Queens College and the University of New York published a study in 2009 that documents the success of dolls and toys used in pretend-play settings in mimicking interactions with real people. When coupled with behavioral rehearsals and positive reinforcement, these dolls can instill socially relevant skills, which autistic children can keep on developing later in life. For example, playing with an American boy doll together with peers can teach autistic children the value of ”cooperative play”. Such games inevitably initiate social interactions, thereby helping kids with autism slowly step out of their shells.

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