Imitation can be a hard skill to develop for many children with autism. It might not come naturally for some individuals. When this happens, other areas of growth may be affected. For example, language development, play skills, interacting with peers and following instructions or directions are all impacted by a person’s ability to imitate. For this reason, teaching imitation is a big area of focus for many caregivers and educators of children with autism. Some people will use a structured, drill-like setting where the child is reinforced for imitation after the adult says something like “follow me” or “do this” as they perform an action. If the child performs the action, the adult will give the child a preferred item as reinforcement. Others may choose a more natural setting to work on imitation, such as play time. They may choose to use toys or activities that the child really enjoys to spark imitation lessons. For example, they may start by imitating the actions that the child makes with the toy in order to get the child to notice. After this is successful, they may see if the child will take notice of what the adult is doing with the toy and imitate the actions of the adult.