Autism Awareness: Early Play Skills

Autism Awareness: Early Play Skills

At aMuse, we care deeply about the children (and adults!) who play with our toys. We work tirelessly to find toys and games of high-quality that provide endless hours of play with a buying mentality focused on educational value and developmental appropriateness.



As many of our readers know, April is National Autism Awareness Month. aMuse is in the midst of a donation campaign to support the efforts of the individuals at the Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Center for Autism & Related Disorders (CARD). Our inspiration for this campaign is a culmination of the wonderful interactions and experiences that our team has had playing with children that visit our stores, helping a parent, loved one or friend of a child with autism in selecting an item from our shelves that they hope will unlock a door or encourage a new emotion, and our personal connection to the autism spectrum community


For ten years, Jenny Sharpless has worked at the Kennedy Krieger Institute’s CARD as a Speech Pathologist. We were fortunate enough to chat with Jenny about the importance of play and the impact that it has on a child’s growth and development.

In her sessions, Jenny works with parents/guardians to identify the level of play that a child on the autism spectrum can comfortably engage in and creates target goals to work towards enhancing play skills. Her focus is with toddlers and young children. When assisting parents in identifying appropriate toys, Jenny emphasizes the importance of playing with a child on a level with which they are comfortable. First play skills, or early play skills, may include actions such as stacking and nesting, cause and effect, sequencing and visual tracking.


Jenny often suggests that parents/guardians of children on the spectrum, “go back to basics” and pull out toys that focus on fine tuning these prerequisite skills. Toys such as stacking cups, a basic marble run and unit blocks “target all areas of early development.” The collection of aMuse favorites below includes just such toys.


Stayed tuned as we continue our Autism Awareness series through the month of April. Learn about the next few stages of play and find out what a few of Jenny’s favorite toys are when she is playing with little ones at Kennedy Krieger.

Be sure to like us on Facebook to support our donation efforts via our Likes 4 Tikes campaign!


In celebration of National Autism Awareness Month, we’re kicking off our Likes 4 Tikes campaign in an effort to donate up to $1,000 worth of toys & games to the Kennedy Krieger Institute 's Center for Autism & Related Disorders. From now until Sunday, April 28, aMuse will donate $10 worth of Melissa & Doug brand toys & games for every 10 new facebook fans. Please don’t underestimate your reach. Share this post on your personal page so that your friends can be a part of supporting this great cause!


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  • I think that yes, it’s fair. As long as you have the support sestym (emotional, social, financial) in place so that you will be able to care for both children, and provide for both of their needs which may be very different. As long as one of the kids is not neglected due to the needs of the other child, I think it could be a pretty fantastic experience for everyone involved I am an autistic and adopted only child parenting an autistic only child and I think that the one thing missing from our family is another child. If I were to adopt, I’d lean toward adopting a child with autism, as I can’t imagine raising a non-autistic child or attempting to balance raising one of each (for lack of a better term). I wish we had the option to add another child to our family, but I feel like I’m strapped already (I have rheumatoid/autoimmune arthritis and spine damage). Hope this helps Let us know what you decide!

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