Why Play Is Important For Kids With Autism
As it turns out, not one thing that children do is separate from observation, imitation, and learning. Their playtime is not random. They are always processing new words, actions, and skills that they have been taught or that they have seen someone else do. When you think about it, play is almost like a rehearsal for life in the present and in the future. Children find their identity through play and sort out feelings through play.
- Jean Piaget, a developmental psychologist, said Play is the work of childhood.
- Television personality, Mr. Rogers once said, Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning.
These truths apply to all children and children with autism are no exception to these sentiments. Whether you are creating activities for autistic toddlers, preschoolers or older kids the benefits of play are the same. Playful activities teach social skills, inspire creativity, increase learning and understanding, improve communication and develop fine and gross motor skills.
Through play, many children find hobbies and interests that evolve into lifelong interests and potential career paths. For kids with autism, play can be the catalyst for making friends more easily, transitioning from special education settings to general education settings, and being able to acclimate to various social settings.
Offer Accommodations For Students With Limited Motor Skills
Some students with autism may have more trouble with activities that require fine motor skills than others. In an article with the Indiana Resource Center for Autism, renowned scientist and advocate Dr. Temple Grandin suggests offering accommodationslike typing on a computer instead of writingto mitigate these challenges.
When it comes to specific accommodations, it may depend on the individual. Its always a good idea to reach out to a students family to determine the best resources for their child.
Earlier this year I created a super unimaginatively titled article called, 20 Ideal Hobbies, Activities and Sports for People with Autism which, to little surprise, discussed 20 ideal hobbies, activities and sports for people with autism. However, despite my best efforts to make this post as comprehensive as possible at the time, upon publishing it, I quickly received feedback from members of the autistic community who showed me that my comprehensive list wasnt quite as comprehensive as I thought.
So, to put things right, today I wanted to create an article discussing 10 MORE Hobbies, Activities and Sports for People with Autism using your feedback from the previous post .
Using Evidence To Inform Treatment
Clinical Impact Statement: This article provides an overview of common challenges faced by the early-career clinician when working with teens and young adults with autism in the therapy room, and evidence to assist in treatment planning. With the rise in the identification and diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders and the lack of trained therapists to work with these clients, our field is in need of continued research and professional development to address this growing problem. Specific problems, such as stimming, anxiety, and suicide, as well as treatment approaches, such as CBT, psychoeducation, and social identity theory, are discussed and recommendations for the early-career clinician are provided.
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The Process Of Therapy With Adolescents With Asd
The process of therapy for clinicians who work with individuals whose symptoms fall on the spectrum requires a unique subset of therapeutic skill that is not always taught in graduate training. While it is important to utilize all of the common microskills with the ASD population, it is also important to recognize these teens and young adults may have an additional set of needs for the therapy room. For instance, they may not have the cognitive capacity to follow metaphors and/or analogies that are often used in therapy. Furthermore, due to challenges with social nuances, a client with ASD may not have the skill to speak up when they donât understand a question or to correct a misinterpretation that a therapist makes. Using concrete and relatable examples will minimize the chances of misunderstandings. It should be noted that the clientâs inability to react appropriately to a clinicianâs questions might have less to do with autism, and more to do with the clinicianâs inability to ask the question correctly. One should continue to check in with both the client and, as appropriate, the family, to gauge how the client is interpreting personal progress in therapy.
Skills To Practice With Kids During Travel And Activities
- Fine Motor Skills-Games, crafts and coloring activities are a great way to use and practice a childs fine motor skills.
- Speech andLanguage Many parents seek out a language-rich environment for their child. Any activity can be an opportunity to use and repeat new words and language, mimicking sounds, new vocalizations and articulations.
- Executive Functioning Skills Depending on the game or activity, it can be an opportunity to practice executive functions such as working memory, sequencing, following directions, task initiation and more.
- Handwriting and Fluency- This piggybacks onto the language skills a child needs, but with worksheets, coloring pages and games, they can be a low-risk opportunity to practice handwriting and fluency.
- Practicing Previously Acquired Skills-Applying already acquired skills across all environments, bring the classroom teaching into the real world.
- Sensory-Textures, sounds, taste, vestibular, interoception, anything!
- Social Awareness-Practice traditional social skills in a safe environment, such as: joint attention, taking turns, reciprocating conversation, waiting politely, and more.
- Gross Motor-If youre in a new place, practice walking across uneven surfaces, new surfaces, inclines & declines, stairs, or increasing endurance.
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How Does Art Therapy Help Autism
Whether your child is interested in music, drama, visual arts, or dance, autism art therapy is an incredible way for children to communicate and express themselves non-verbally. Just some of the ways in which art therapy is useful to children on the autism spectrum include:
- Enhanced communication through creative expression
- Improved imagination and greater abstract thinking
- The ability to build stronger relationships while encouraging children with autism to see other peoples perspectives
- Greater sensory integration while improving coping skills
- Enhanced development while building visual/spatial skills
- Greater emotional and sensory regulation, which has a positive impact on behavior
Art is so beneficial in that it is highly subjective. It is important to remember that each child with autism is a unique individual, with unique abilities, strengths, and needs. Since the most effective interventions are those that are personalized to meet the individualized characteristics of each child, children with autism can thrive in a creative, non-restrictive environment one that allows them to think in pictures in a free-flowing manner.
The goal is to help the child become desensitized to similar sensations so that they become more bearable in everyday life. This will allow them to benefit at home and school, as they learn to interact with peers and family members in a more positive manner,better regulate their emotions, and develop greater self-confidence.
Help Your Child Behave Appropriately
What is appropriate for one individual may not be for another. Appropriate interactions and behavior can change according to situations, culture, and relationships. It may be extremely challenging for an adolescent with ASD to understand the proper etiquette of social interaction.
You can talk to their behavior therapist, psychologist, and SLP. They can give you culture-appropriate exercises and activities to teach your child how to behave in classrooms, public places, and at home.
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Emotions: Paper Emoticon Cutouts
Using colored construction paper, markers or crayons, and glue you can craft several different emoticons just like the ones you use on your cell phone. Draw and cut out various eyes, noses, mouths, and eyebrows. Arrange the features to display the emotions: happy, sad, jealous, bored, frustrated, sleepy, and whatever other emotions that you are teaching your child. Write the word for the emotion on the back of each face that you and your child construct and use them to talk about different moods and feelings as they arise.
How To Get Started With Art Therapy Activities For Children With Autism
Art therapy can begin for a child with autism as early as age two or three. In a world that may be otherwise confusing and often overwhelming, art can provide a problem-solving solution that better suits the childs thinking style. Whether your goal is to help your child explore and understand their feelings or decrease certain behavioral issues, here are some ideas to get started.
While its important to work closely with your childs art therapist, as these professionals hold expertise in fine arts and counseling, you can actively work with your child at home, helping them expand on what theyve learned in therapy. Of course, youll need to find what works best for your child. However, the following strategies can help kickstart their creative journey.
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Virtual Social Activity Ideas
While there arent many virtual social interaction resources, there are a few that are sure to help your child practice their social skills with others.
One great tool to help strengthen your childs social skills virtually is by playing games with others online. Were not necessarily referring to Roblox, Minecraft, or Fortnite. However, many teens with autism can benefit from them. Were talking about games specifically designed to help bolster social skills in children with autism.
Activities For Grade School Children With Autism
At the elementary school level, many children with autism are beginning to stand out more from their peers, and they may be experiencing bullying and social isolation. Social skills activities can help build the skills they need to form relationships. In addition, as peers’ motor skills become more advanced, some children may find they are falling behind. Gross motor activities can help them catch up with their friends.
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Covid Impact On Children Aged 6
Covid impact on children aged 6-12: understanding and supporting mental health. The first section of this article explores covid impact on children aged 6-12, while the second part reviews what can be done to manage and mediate these unfortunate factors. Solutions and resources for emotional health and coping skills, managing behaviors, getting through virtual school,
Use Their Favorite Toys And Snacks
You can use your childâs favorite toy and snacks for this activity. Keep the items out of their reach but within their line of sight.
It may take them a while, but your child can learn to gesture or signal for it. You can help them by pointing and saying the word, âtoyâ or âsnackâ for the first few days.
The next step is the child leading the adult by either gestures, signs, or looks towards the item they want. A child with mild to moderate signs of ASD may also learn the name of the items and use the names to ask for them.
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Different Activities For Autistic Teens
Contrary to popular belief, not all computer games are bad for teenagers. Carefully chosen games can teach your teen a lot about developing different abilities. For example, studies show that online games for autistic teenagers can help enhance their problem-solving skills.
We recommend choosing educational games that encourage your teen to use logic, such as those found here at Identifor. If your teen prefers to use their phone over a computer, then you can download our companion app to their phone so they can play on the go. All games are designed to develop an autistic teens multiple intelligences, and parents can receive an ongoing assessment of their childs progression.
Puzzles are not just for children. With puzzles designed for all age groups, they can help enhance the cognitive abilities of any individual. Autistic teens, in particular, are visually skilled and tend to enjoy working on puzzles. In addition, the hyper-focus of an autistic teen gives them a natural aptitude for solving puzzles. Putting together puzzles could either be done as a solo activity or as a social activity with a friend or family member. Encourage your teen to discuss what theyre doing and thinking as they work through the puzzle. Completing puzzles as part of a team effort will help improve your teens speech and communication abilities.
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Explore Autism Treatment Options At An Ab Spectrum Aba Clinic Near You
At Autism and Behavior Spectrum , we offer customized ABA therapy and comprehensive Autism treatments to families in and around St. Louis Missouri. This includes in-home ABA sessions, as well as clinic-based therapy at our locations in Chesterfield and St. Charles, Missouri. Our tailor-made programs and interventions incorporate the Reggio Emilia ABA pedagogy based on Natural Environment Teaching methods. Our goal is to help children with ASD learn and grow in an environment that encourages their individuality and embraces their skills.
Our experienced and trained ABA professionals focus on improving the childs quality of life by:
- Developing self-help skills, school readiness skills, and essential life skills
- Improving emotional maturity, cognitive abilities, motor skills and social skills
- Reducing problematic behaviors, enhancing self-confidence, and promoting independence.
Whether you suspect your child is showing signs of Autism, or have already received an ASD diagnosis, the ABA therapy specialists at AB Spectrum can help. Call us at 314.648.2687 or book a no-fee consultation today.
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What Is Aba Therapy
In short, ABA stands for Applied Behavior Analysis.
But what exactly does that mean?
Simply put, ABA therapy is a scientific approach to understanding behavior and how it is affected by the environment. An ABA therapist will look at specific behaviors a child engages in , attempt to understand why and under what circumstances those behaviors occur, and apply ABA principles to teach more appropriate ways of doing something.
The overarching goal of ABA therapy is to increase desired behaviors while also decreasing undesirable behaviors based on a childs individual challenges. ABA therapy is used to help improve a childs social and communication skills, academic performance, gross and fine motor skills, and basic life skills so her or she can lead a functional and happy life.
What makes ABA therapy so effective is that it is tailored for each individual. While the same basic ABA principals will be used, ABA therapists will evaluate your childs skills and challenges, and will build a plan based on his or her specific goals and learning capabilities. Each goal is broken down into simple, teachable steps and positive reinforcement is used to increase positive behaviors and decrease negative ones.
Growing Numbers Of Teens With Asd
Chantal Sicile-Kira says nobody told her what to expect when her son with autism, now 24, became a teenager. Jeremy Sicile-Kira was born when autism was considered to be relatively rare just before the tide of diagnoses began rising in the 1990s. “Nobody ever told us anything about adolescence and autism,” she said.
Today, many more parents have children with autism entering or already in their teens.1 Ms. Sicile-Kira tries to educate them through her books, speeches and seminars on autism spectrum disorders .
One common complaint she hears from parents: their teens’ autism is getting worse. But that may be a misunderstanding, she said.
“The teens are not getting more noncompliant because their autism is getting worse. It’s because they’re teenagers,” said Ms. Sicile-Kira, author of Adolescents on the Autism Spectrum. Like all teens, they may want more independence. Parents can help: “If your child needs schedules, for example, give him more control over his schedule. That gives him a way to be ‘noncompliant'” to have his own way sometimes.
Research into autism in the teen years and beyond is still in its infancy: “very little is known about the course of ASD through adolescence and into young adulthood,” one study said.1
Autism is a broad spectrum, and adolescence will affect each child differently. If recent studies are an indication, parents generally can expect some of the following along their child’s road to adulthood:
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Tip : Create A Personalized Autism Treatment Plan
With so many different treatments available, it can be tough to figure out which approach is right for your child. Making things more complicated, you may hear different or even conflicting recommendations from parents, teachers, and doctors.
When putting together a treatment plan for your child, keep in mind that there is no single treatment that works for everyone. Each person on the autism spectrum is unique, with different strengths and weaknesses.
Your childs treatment should be tailored according to their individual needs. You know your child best, so its up to you to make sure those needs are being met. You can do that by asking yourself the following questions:
What are my childs strengths and their weaknesses?
What behaviors are causing the most problems? What important skills is my child lacking?
How does my child learn best through seeing, listening, or doing?
What does my child enjoy and how can those activities be used in treatment and to bolster learning?
Finally, keep in mind that no matter what treatment plan is chosen, your involvement is vital to success. You can help your child get the most out of treatment by working hand-in-hand with the treatment team and following through with the therapy at home.