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A role play based support is a lot of fun.   It can be huge, or it can be small.   It can involve meticulous planning or can happen on the spur of the moment.   Basically, it's a way of practising or demonstrating a social situation.   Sometimes children with autism engage in role play themselves, acting out situations with sets of toys.   They may possess the imagination to use, for example, a set of Peppa Pig toys to represent their family, and then act out shopping or other social activities with them.   They may use it to communicate how they'd like people to behave or respond in situations, or maybe just to practise or help process a situation, in the past or the future.

If we start small, we find ourselves with Lego or Playmobil figures.   With Lego you can build a 'set' for the story to happen in, Playmobil has a variety of sets available in toy shops or online.   If the child's imagination needs a little help, you can print and cut out little faces of the people in the scenario and then blu-tack them to the figures.

You can also make the figures from scratch, maybe cutting out whole people from printed photos and making sets out of shoe boxes with photos of the real setting stuck to them.   Your figures may be on sticks so they can move freely around the set.

If you're really creative, you can video your 'play' and make a DVD, software that comes free with most Windows computers is good enough to sequence your 'scenes' together into a coherent movie, complete with titles, credits and even background music and narration if you think it would be effective.   If you've gone with Lego or Playmobil, consider stop motion animation, which is actually really easy as its just a sequence of photographs.   Again, this can be done with an ordinary digital camera and software already on your computer.   You could add thought bubbles, special effects etc. to the photos in Paintshop Pro.   Below is a simple stop motion sequence I made with my nephew one Christmas.
 
 
If we move up from small to medium, we arrive at dolls and teddies.   As with the smaller figures, you can add faces and make background scenes, and once again you can video, deliver puppet show style or involve the child in the story.

At the top is big.   That's real people.   A proper play or movie.   If needed, you could make masks from photos, use real furniture to set up scenarios, and present the play to the child or involve them as an actor.   Think about clothing, voices, background noises etc.

So what are we trying to achieve with all this?   After all it is a lot of effort to go to.   We