Our whole life is solving puzzles. ~Erno Rubik
Autistics, like all people, face puzzles and challenges in life.
Autistics have to navigate the social world.
They have to deal with sensory challenges.
And they have to manage the stress of living in an unpredictable non-autistic society.
Here are some games and tools to help autistics and their families.
Kids speak through play.
When autistic children play, they improve their motor, language, and social skills.
But sometimes it can be hard to engage autistic children in play.
Pediatric occupational therapist Tara Delaney gives the answer.
In 101 Games and Activities for Children with Autism, Asperger’s, and Sensory Processing Disorders, she shows you how to teach your children by moving their bodies through play.
These interactive games are quick to learn but will offer hours of fun and learning for your child.
You and your child can play these games indoors or outdoors.
So your child can enjoy them at home, outside, or on field trips!
This resource has more than one hundred games that can help your child:
- make eye-contact, stay focused, and strengthen his or her motor skills
- associate words with objects and improve language and numerical skills
- learn how to interact with others, how to take turns, and other social skills needed for attending preschool and school
Tara Delaney M.S., OTR, is the Executive Director of Steps Therapy Inc.
She specializes in sensory integration, autism, ADHD, learning disabilities, and social skills development.
Any child needs to learn how to understand and master her/his emotions.
Otherwise, those emotions will master your child.
Dr. Mark Jones uses animated animals to teach cognitive and behavioral skills to children.
Here are some of the skills you child can learn:
- Breathing skills to help with sleep, anger, tantrums, and frustrations
- Distraction skills to help aid focus and to break cycles
- Relaxation skills to help reduce anxiety
- Positive affirmations to increase self-esteem
Social stories are a promising way to teach children on the autism spectrum.
At Make Belief Comix, children and adults can create their own comic strip stories.
It’s a lot of fun! You can use the principles of a social story in any comic designed there.
Temple Grandin wrote about her struggles with sensory related stress.
She designed her own pressure machine to relieve the stress.
Read about benefits of vests as described here:
Our 2 in 1 weighted compression vest is made to calm and provide steady proprioceptive input, as the combined pressure and weight functions as a reassuring deep hug. Weights are safely positioned in pockets inside the vest and can be added or removed. Deep pressure can be intensified or removed as the tightness can be altered via Hook and Loop closures at the trunk and shoulders. Machine washable.
An added resource:
Autism Products is Better Business Bureau approved site where you can check many weighted vests according to your budget needs.
Many autistic children chew on pens, paper or even their own clothing.
These pencil toppers are a great solution for teachers and children alike.
Here’s a quote describing this sensory tool:
The Sensory University has created an all new pencil topper using its top-selling Chew Stixx Product. If your child bites, chews, or grinds, give them something safe to chew on. The Chew Stixx Pencil Topper fits any number 2 pencil, decreases lead exposure, is safe for teeth, is socially acceptable, is allowed in classrooms, increases attention, lowers anxiety levels, and has been proven to improve concentration skills in children constantly seeking sensory input. Excellent for streamline and special needs children. Package includes one smooth and one knobby surfaced topper. Not for use with children under 4 years of age.
The Big Top Game is designed for kids with autism and/or Non Verbal Learning Disabilities (NVLD).
The Big Top Game helps kids learn empathy and interpersonal skills.
The learning objectives are:
- increasing interpersonal and communication skills
- learning empathy
- improving skills in expressing feelings
- improving self-esteem
- developing more insight into ourselves and our autism
The Big Top Game designers paid special attention to the needs and learning styles of the children
The game targets (1) Effective Sensory Stimuli, (2) Behavioral Reinforcement, (3) Social/emotional development, and (4) Educational skills development.
In the game, animals have escaped from the circus, and the players have to work together to rescue them and return them to the circus.
Age range: Grades 1-6 and older children when appropriate.
So there you have some of my ‘wish list’ activities, games, and tools for children on the autism spectrum.
photo credit: Willow&Monk: Girl Contemplates the World
This is an incomplete list. I made it incomplete on purpose, because I’d like to you to tell us about your favorite games, activities and tools for children on the autism spectrum.
Share them in the comments!