Autism is one of the prevailing disorders today. It is being reported by CDC that 1 in about 50 children suffer from autistic spectrum disorder. This is a matter of concern for not only paediatrics, child psychologists but also for educational institutions as they would have to make drastic, sustained and long term changes to accommodate the increasing number of autistic kids.
Autistic kids have difficulties in areas such as
- Verbal and nonverbal communication
- Social interaction
- Repetitive behaviours
- Narrow and obsessive interests
- Sensory processing issues
The difficulties in these particular areas make learning a giant hurdle for autistic kids. Luckily there are certain ways that can adopted to make these difficulties go away. And there is no better way to do it than with interactive games and activities.
Regular games and interactive activities can be modified a little bit to make them interesting for autistic as well as for regular kids. These games can help autistic kids overcome the issues related communication, social interaction, repetitive behaviours, obsessive interests and sensory processing issues.
In many cases, autistic kids with sensory processing issues have hard time focusing and processing information. Interactive games and activities with peers can improve their sensory perception. Few such games include
7 Summer Fun Toddler Activities for Children with Autism
- Mirror game: Mirror game is an interesting way to develop language and communication skills of an autistic child. Make your child sit in front of you and try imitating him or her in every possible way such as yawning, pointing fingers, repeating words, etc. After this encourage your child to shift roles. Now, after some physical movements, talk something and ask your child to repeat. Start with simple sentences and over a period of time make the sentences complex in a step by step manner.
Image Source: world-wise.org.uk
- Guessing game: Guessing game improves perceptive skills of an autistic child. Blindfold your child, give him or her some objects and ask your child to guess them. By touching and assessing the shape of the object, they can learn about the objects and learn about the world around them.
- Picture puzzle: Picture puzzle is another simple which enhances your child’s perception about the shape and size of objects. You can give few simple puzzles to your child to try and after her or she succeeds, you can give them a set of complex pieces of puzzle to your child. Later on you can try giving more complex picture such as your picture or your family’s picture. This approach can be beneficial as they would be trained well in recognizing which piece goes where.
- Drawing game: Drawing game is a good way to improve motor skills and hand to mind coordination in autistic children. Give them an exercise of drawing not complex but simple figures such as circles and ask them to try various emotions as well in the circles and try explaining each emotion and its importance.
- Blowing Bubbles: Nothing can delight a child more than floating bubbles in the air. Playing with bubbles and chasing them can boost hand-eye coordination and gross motor skills, as well as language development (Wow! Look its floating up up up ). (http://parentinghealthybabies.blogspot.in/2013/02/fun-activity-for-toddlers.html)
- Finger Painting : Dipping one or all fingers in non-toxic paint can help develop sensory and as well fine motor skills in children with autism. This can also help kids to explore the texture of the paint and learn colors. For children with autism who find the sensation of paint unpleasant, you could use hand gloves, paint brush or roll objects like toy car or balls into the paint and use them as prints.
- I spy: I spy is a classical game that is not only good for regular kids but for autistic kids as well. The child has to follow certain clues given to find an object. This game improves connecting and processing two or more object in order to achieve the goal.
The above mentioned games and activities are important in improving the overall functioning of kids with autistic spectrum disorders, particularly improving areas such as communication, imagination and visualization and taking them to the next levels.
Apart from these games, encourage children with autism to also take up physical games. Lack of sufficient motor skills is also another factor which can be solved by physical activity. Recent studies show that obesity is increasing in autistic kids due to their sedentary and solitary behaviour and attitude. This is an unhealthy turn which we want to avoid.