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What Are Good Activities for Autistic Children?

Bicycles, scooters, and ride-on play equipment encourage gross motor skill development.
Many craft activities for autistic children can be enjoyable and stimulating.
Origami can help improve a child's dexterity.
Reading can be one of the most important and fulfilling activities for autistic children.
Art therapy may help autistic children express emotions that are difficult to articulate verbally.
Team sports can help children with autism improve their socialization skills.
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  • Written By: Karize Uy
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 17 October 2014
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Autistic children can participate in many activities done both indoors and outdoors. Inside the classroom, special education teachers often inject some fun and games when teaching lessons to make learning more enjoyable and to keep the children’s attention. All activities for autistic children should stimulate a child’s senses, encourage him to use his motor abilities, or improve his communication and social skills.

“I Spy” is an activity that autistic children can enjoy. The parent can start the game by saying “I spy,” then describe in detail the object he is “spying.” This activity can enhance an autistic child’s observation and concentration skills. It can also be a way to let a child use his imagination, especially when it is his turn to describe an object. The game can also be a way to enhance his ability to communicate and express himself.

Many craft activities for autistic children can also be enjoyable and stimulating. Autistic children can be very skilled with their hands, and making things out of scraps can be very exciting for them. Collage, paper mache, clay molding, and even origami can help a child think outside the box and create figures, while improving her dexterity with her hands. Autistic children can also learn how to be logical and organized, as some art activities require following steps to make the finished product.

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Reading can be one of the most important and fulfilling activities for autistic children because it lets them explore so many worlds and people out of their reach. Parents can set aside a reading time for their autistic children in which both of them read aloud a book or even memorize some portions of it. Children can even act out some scenes in a book for a livelier experience. Reading can encourage a child to be imaginative and expressive. It can also help a child be in tune with his emotions, as a reader can sometimes empathize with the characters in the story.

Autistic children can also participate in group activities. Sports provide a range of activities for autistic children to use and improve both their motor and mental skills; they can also help a “special” child be more sociable. Parents can teach them fun sports such as basketball, baseball, and swimming. Sports not only cater to developing brains, but also teach a child to be disciplined and focused. In choosing activities for autistic children, parents and guardians should consider the noise and participation level, as some autistic children are easily irritated by loud noises and sometimes do not like physical touch.

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Mor
Post 3

@umbra21 - I've had a little bit of experience with some autistic kids in my classroom and I've found the secret tends to be allowing them to mix their interests with each activity. If they love race cars, then try to structure each activity so that it involves race cars. It's actually not that difficult, particularly if you're willing to do things like get race car counters for them to count in math or books on race cars for them to read.

It also helps a lot to make your classroom as inclusive and accepting as possible. You don't have to come up with games specifically for autistic children to do this. You've just got to be open minded about how they interpret the games that you do play with them and encourage all the other students to be the same, by giving them the same courtesy.

umbra21
Post 2

@KoiwiGal - That's true to some extent, but you've got to be careful you don't allow your child to box themselves in. It's difficult to know if something will interest you unless you try it and the wider a range of activities for kids you can get your child involved in, the healthier they will be.

Don't try to force them into anything, as that won't work, but don't hesitate to encourage them either.

KoiwiGal
Post 1

This is also going to depend on what kind of autism your child has been diagnosed with and what you know, personally, to be their limits and preferences. Special needs children are going to fall on a very wide range of abilities for every activity. They might be extremely skilled at music, but unable to undertake the easiest task in sports.

Children need to be given activities where they can experience success, in order to build their confidence. They also need motivation to complete any activity, which generally means they need to be interested in it. This is particularly true for autistic kids since they often don't feel the need to go along with activities for social reasons, the way non-autistic kids might.

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