Social play skills refer to the ability to engage in play activities with others in an interactive way. In typical development, social play begins to emerge around 2.5-3yrs as children begin to move from solitary and parallel play, to associative play. Component skills include observable behaviors such as initiating and responding to bids for joint attention, making and responding to requests for shared materials, and turn taking. Cooperative play evolves to include more structure with shared plans and roles and jobs such as playing grocery store with a cashier and a shopper. Children with intellectual and developmental disabilities may benefit from systematic and explicit instruction to support the acquisition of component skills to scaffold to higher levels of social play, following their motivation, and aligned with their developmental level, interests, and preferences.
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