Skip navigation

Calls to Action

Reducing Playground Stress for Kids with Autism

March 18, 2015

Reducing barriers and helping these children socialize

A psychiatry professor from Vanderbilt University is leading a study that looks at how children with autism spectrum disorders interact with neurotypical children on the playground — and ways to reduce playground-induced stress, reported. 

Blythe Corbett, PhD, is leading the study that highlights the importance of bringing together children on the autism spectrum and their neurotypical peers in social settings.

"So we can better understand what things help them to interact but also what things are getting in the way of being able to play with others," Corbett told King5.

Researchers took saliva samples from kids with ASD to measure the stress hormone cortisol, to test their stress levels.

"The good news is though, that all it takes is a simple invitation, for a peer to invite them, to ask them to play, and that can significantly improve their willingness to engage with others," Corbett told King5.

Read more about the study on

Vanderbilt’s Kennedy Center is part of our Autism Treatment Network (ATN). Autism Speaks helped fund their social skills training camp, TRIAD. In addition to providing a supportive learning environment for the campers with autism, TRIAD Social Skills Summer Camp promotes community awareness and education, provides training activities for future professionals, and helps children better understand and interact with their peers and siblings with autism.

In 2012, a study on peer-training argued for a shift away from relying solely on instructor social-skills training and toward greater emphasis on teaching classmates how to interact with children who have social challenges. Read more about that study here