Parents of children with autism will more often than not attest to the fact that their kids have an inherent need for structure in their life. However, in planning their lives to extremes, they forget that their children also need to enjoy their life and have some amount of fun scheduled into their daily lives. These activities are extremely essential for their physical and mental growth. It is important that you include indoor and outdoor games, that also have some form of educational value to them. These games are also important in order to develop their motor and social skills. These games and activities should be fun, challenging, and aim at their overall progress. Before we take a look those games and activities that are suitable for an autistic child, let us take a look at some things that definitely need to be considered.
Choosing Activities for Autistic Children
It is important to remember that kids with autism need games and activities that are fun, engaging, and which can fit into their daily routine. They may not find activities that other children engage in as enticing and they will need time to get used to the activity that has been chosen for them. Let us take a look at some things that will help you determine the right activity for your kid.
- It is important that at no point of time does the activity become a point of frustration for the kid. If the game becomes frustrating, the child may lose all interest in it.
- Most kids with autism tend to be very clear about what they like and what they don't. Once they enjoy something, they will let you know. Take their likes and dislikes into consideration. This will also help them hone their abilities.
- Often kids can be discouraged or encouraged by others participating in the activity. You will have to ensure that your child is comfortable with the people participating in the game.
- The rate at which the development of your kid takes place may differ from other kids and this is an important thing to consider when choosing an activity. It is important that you child have the necessary coordination to perform the activity, and that he does not feel disadvantaged in any way.
- As a parent, you will be privy to things that annoy your kid and things that may make him feel troubled. It is important to ascertain that the activity that you have chosen, does not, in any way, cause disturbance to your child.
- For any kid with an autism spectrum disorder, it is important that you consider games and activities that are designed to achieve specific goals. In the absence of a goal, your child may lose interest pretty quickly.
Activities for Children with Autism
There are many different activities that you can opt to choose for your child if he or she is affected by an autism spectrum disorder. We take a look at some of these games that can be both fun and educational for your child.
Most autistic kids are artistically inclined and find it easy to express their creativity and talent through art activities. Most importantly, working with colors promotes sensory development in these kids. Kids aged 5 to 9 can work with crayons and pencils, while the older ones can work with water colors and even acrylic paint. Do remember to appreciate their unique creations, as this would motivate them immensely.
For autistic children, craft work helps by improving their finger dexterity. Simple craft work like making a collage, stationery holders, tissue paper butterflies, etc. can not engage them, but also help them develop patience. They can also work with clay to create different kinds of models.
Recitation and Story Telling
Reading is an important interactive activity for autistic kids. Stories and poems can be either recited or read out and children can be encouraged to read out a few lines from the stories. They can also be encouraged to memorize poems along with actions. Short stories can also be enacted by groups of children.
Music and Lyrics
It has been noticed that kids afflicted with autism spectrum disorders often react positively to the use of music. When taught to play simple musical instruments, they often respond with an eagerness. Most kids also love to sing, learning new songs and participating in singing activities with much vigor.
When trying to get autistic children to make friends or become more social, it may be a good idea to resort to classic games from your childhood like tag or follow the leader. These games are not too complex and can be a lot of fun. It maybe a good idea to always focus on the unique talents of your child to play a game that builds his confidence and makes him more comfortable.
Organized Team Sports
Playing sports with children who have autism can be a bit of a task. It may take a little bit of coaxing to get them to play contact sports. Try to start them off on games and activities like golf and baseball, or even water games. Try to avoid games such as touch football as this may take them out of their comfort zone.
It is important that you pick out easy to play indoor games which are sensory in nature. You can choose games like I Spy, Guess My Name, Touch and Tell, What you Would Do?, etc. You can also include games like wordplay, picture link, smart math, etc.
Excursions and Visits
An ideal activity for an autistic kid would be a visit to a park, zoo, or even a museum depending on the child's preference. Not only will this help your kid become more in tune with his surroundings, it will also help your child learn something new.
These are just some of the many activities that you can help autistic kids indulge in. These activities may help your child develop hobbies and pick something that he has a keen interest in. Be patient with your child, allow him to explore his interests, and do not hesitate to let him experiment with several different activities. Encouragement and motivation is the key to make the activity an enjoyable learning experience for your child.