Every child loves to be involved in some activities, and children with autism are no exception!
For the autism community, changes related to Covid 19 create a unique set of problems. Activities have stopped running, schools are closed, programs are shut down during this period.
This may be a difficult time. Some children with autism may react right away, while others may show signs of difficulty.
It’s important to talk with them about coronavirus, but without unnecessarily frightening them. Talk with your children before they hear about it elsewhere. Provide facts appropriate to their age and understanding. Communicate in a way that your child prefers, such as pictures or stories. Social stories may be helpful.
Ask them to tell you if they start to feel like they have a fever, cough or are having difficulty breathing. Limit television viewing or access to information on the Internet.
You can create funny and engaging activities for your child by yourself. The following games and activities can
- improve social skills between your child and people around him/her
- stimulate the brain and improve sensory processing systems
- improve coordination and fine/gross motor skills
- calm children down when they are agitated.
Make a Visual Support
People on the autism spectrum tend to learn best using visual supports. Seeing it, rather than saying it, helps the person retain and process information. First of all make a daily schedule with some activities on it. You can make the process fun by creating a schedule together. Make daily schedules with visual pictures and short task names and show sequential steps in a task.
There are also many mobile apps that offer visual supports․ You can Google it and find one that is more preferable for your child.
Make a Sensory Bottle
Fill an old plastic bottle with a mix of water, glitter and a few drops of food coloring to create an eye-catching toy for your kid. Drop in a few buttons or marbles and then seal the lid tightly using a hot glue gun. This activity is a really simple way to help your kid learn to engage and stay focused.
In this game the children taste different kinds of food while blindfolded, and then guess what it is. Your choice of food will obviously depend on the likes/dislikes of the children, but bear in mind that this game can be a good way of introducing new tastes and textures. Your list might include things like yoghurt, cereal, jelly, rice cakes, bananas, bread, tomato sauce, satsumas and guacamole.
Fill a selection of small containers with a mix of fragrant ingredients such as lavender, coffee or soap. Place a seal over the top using a piece of fabric and a rubber band and then ask your child to identify the different smells. Children with Autism love to learn about their senses and the roles they play in exploring their environment.
Homemade Musical Instruments
There are lots of different musical instruments that you can make with kids, and creating them can be just as much fun as playing with them. Ideas include shakers (fill plastic bottles with rice or dried beans), rattles (thread buttons or beads onto some string), drums (use wooden spoons to beat on plastic tubs) and chimes (hang up some bottle tops or shells).
Create a Sensory Collage
Children with Autism can often find distinct textures and sensations overwhelming. Ease your kid into more messy activities by making a tactile collage with a small selection of new materials. Over time your child may enjoy being introduced to a wider range of textures.
Explore the Senses with a Sensory Table
A sensory table is a place designed for squishing, sifting, sorting, digging and pouring! Children will relish the opportunity to get messy, discover, and play freely with engaging their sense of touch, hearing sight.
Play the Matching Game
Matching games are a fun way to enhance your child’s learning. Try placing 10-15 different printed words on one side of a table and have your child match these words to their corresponding pictures on the other side of the table.
Try New Exercise Routine
Making time to exercise is a must during these days because it lowers anxiety, helps with sleep, and supports regulation. Develop a simple exercise routine that can be done for 20 minutes a day. Do different exercises in the morning or before sleep time.
Cooking can enhance a kid’s appetite for trying new foods and is an important life skill that can improve confidence, independence, and math, communication, and social skills. When you manage sensory triggers and start with fun cooking activities that align with your child’s interest and skill level, cooking will be a success.
With so many changes that have happened in the past weeks, try to limit adding more new things. Try adding one new thing or one new activity at a time.
We have some difficult weeks ahead, but we will get through this. The most important thing right now is keeping everyone safe and healthy.
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