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There are many effective, challenging and entertaining activities for those who suffer from autism that can be categorized based on the severity and type of autism and the age and interests of the individual. Some activities are sensory based while others involve singing songs or reading poems. Individualized sports and tasks such as track and field events, fishing, golf or assembling model or building block kits work well. Computer programming can become enriching activities for autism, too. Artistic activities such as dancing, painting, drawing or playing a musical instrument are also often popular with autistic individuals.
Depending on the autistic individual, activities that are sensory based can be both fun and beneficial. Children can play with materials of varying texture such as dry sand, water or beans. Making objects with paper mache, crafts like sand bottles or playing with a rain stick expand on this idea. Games like “I Spy” that require the participants to identify objects based on verbal descriptions can also be engaging. Additional sensory activities for autism can include a whistling game, singing songs and dancing, playing with a sound machine and massage.
Autistic adults may enjoy and also benefit from activities that enforce their social skills or provide an opportunity to exercise. Many low- to high- functioning adults enjoy activities for autism such as swimming, gymnastics, and Tai chi or other martial arts. Participating in a team sport such as soccer or baseball can encourage autistic adults to learn to work with others to achieve a common goal.
Music and dance lessons, an art class in painting or sculpture, joining a choir, or acting in a play are additional activities for autism that can benefit many adults as well as children. Such activities can help autistic individuals develop and improve social skills. Many people with autism also enjoy participating in the arts generally and such activities can help them express themselves more fully.
Families with autistic children, can get together for pre-planned activities. Non-autistic family members familiar with the needs of specific individuals can help provide activities for autism with appropriate structure. Family activities can include cooking, games, picnics and storytelling.
There are several aspects to consider prior to engaging in any activities for autism. If it is a group activity, participants who can be most helpful to the autistic individual or individuals may be appropriate choices. The activity should require only those skills that the autistic participants have learned. In addition, the noise level and physical contact may need to be limited since loud sounds and touching can cause some people with autism unnecessary stress. Activities for autism can be engaging and beneficial if the specific needs of the participants are properly taken into account.
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