Children begin to develop skills through imitation in infancy. A research review, Leford & Windsor, 2020, outlines current intervention research for increasing imitation in children with disabilities. The research recommended the following:
-Include support and rewards for planned, systematic, and frequent instruction and practice.
-Start young and teach imitation to toddlers.
-The instruction and practice should be based on functional learning and individualized goals.
-Practice and teach imitation activities in different environments such as home, school, out in the community, etc.
Here are some examples of imitation activities and games you can play with your child:
-Encourage imitation in daily routines such as turning off the lights, filling the dog’s bowls with water and food, and cleaning the kitchen counter.
-Play Simon Says or Follow the Leader
-Sing songs together with actions such as “The Wheels on the Bus”, “I’m a Little Teapot”, “Itsy Bitsy Spider”, and “Pat a Cake”.
Reference: Ledford, J. R., & Windsor, S. A. (2020). Systematic Review of Interventions Designed to Teach Imitation to Young Children with Disabilities. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 02711214211007190.