Sensory Activities for Your Child with Autism
The holidays are coming and even if they are not, you might think: What toy should I buy? What should we play with?? What would be fun?????
Considerations of Difference Between the Active or Passive Choice:
Neurological function when we use active vs. passive or classic toys is different. There are benefits to the use of electronic toys. The key would be to use them in moderation.
Thinking back on my own life experiences with passive or classic toys was different because for the most part, until we were older they did not typically include batteries. Toys were passive and it was my job to activate them. I had to make them move and use my voice to create sounds. One particular example that I recall is my significant collection of dolls, as a little girl and the tea parties I would share with them, in pretend play. I have no recollection of what we said; but as a child it felt like I was a part of that party.
One Day the Batteries Were There:
Then the Batteries were not:
True story – one day I asked a parent to take all of the batteries out of the toys and see what her triplets would do. They all were delayed in language development. The toys had to move. A train could not just move on a a train track when a button was pushed; but the boys used their bodies to push the train on the track. They had to pick up the train, figure out how to put it on a train track so that it balanced, They had to focus on directing the train to go somewhere and figure out how to get it there. When you asked what the train sound said. They had to use their voice to tell me and did!. They created a sequence of events. They problem solved and reasoned out how their game should proceed.
You probably are quite familiar with battery operated toys so let’s think about suggestions of passive or classic toys for the holiday, or not.
Toys can teach the gross motor skills like walking running or throwing like you might learn in sports. The game Twister is a nice one as the weather gets colder and the mesh tunnels that you can crawl through. If you have a “crawler” aged toddler – even add to the game by blowing bubbles and have them “pop” these. If you have a toddler age child play One Little Finger song melody and instead of “tap-at-tap” substitute “pop-pop-pop point your finger up, point you’re finger down and then ask for “more bubbles””. Some of the mesh toys have basketball hoops. Others have at one end a house which for a sensory – highly stimulated child who needs to calm will be helpful.
Toys can teach higher level language skills: reasoning can be learned with games such as Risk, Guess Who and Charades. These help with problem solving focusing attention recall of attributes that have been described.
Blocks, dollhouses, farm houses, cooking centers for pretend play, dolls or action figures with spoons, cups, forks, knives, plates, wash clothes etc. for pretend play. Actions games like twister, balls, bats, basketball hoops, the mesh tunnels that you can crawl through (and for those with small apartments the ability to squash these up and push them under your furniture or behind a sofa for storage. Turn taking games like “Hi Ho Cheerio”. If you have time Monopoly is good as well as Risk for higher level reasoning and for phonic awareness: either Scrabble or Scrabble Junior.
Literacy Skills – Don’t forget the old fashioned book!
Reading can literally expand your brain function and help it develop. There is an actually there is a “. When we sit with a tangible book with non electronic pages we typically can do so at a slower rate. At least, it is easier to do so then with an e-book where you skim quite quickly. Here is a “ that talks about it and may help you consider buying one for someone as a holiday gift this year
References for Further Consideration:
The traditional trick or treating as we did growing up brings to mind the neighbor who gave out handfuls of peanuts and chocolates. As kids, my parents would search through the bags that my brothers and I brought home to make sure that what we had gathered was safe – unwrapped candy for example. I also recall carving out a pumpkin, drying out seeds and then roasting them. Cupcakes with icing was another thing that we enjoyed eating. As we got older and when I was raising a family there was the house next door that had a fabulous display and my son running out the doorway, coming back to the door saying that there were “customers mommy!!!”. This was in a suburban area of NY and now in an urban setting the “customers” are limited to buildings not so much those on the street OR those in schools who dress up and walk from class to class.
Those are fun memories, but this year things will look a lot different. Going trick or treating by yourself isn’t much fun. What will the memories be of this year’s generation of trick or treaters? Will there be any in an age of social distancing??? How can we be safe and how can it become a memorable one. All is not lost. Here are a few resources that I pulled together.
Masks are certainly in vogue… that will most likely remain in place for those non-sensory challenged people. Costumes and masks can perhaps be homemade.this year so that you don’t have to be shopping for them if you are or are not in a “hot spot”. see how these are. In searching for some ideas to share I came across CDC Guidelines that are for use at Halloween and also include those that will be applicable for the upcoming holiday season. Keep them nearby as you consider celebrations with family and friends.
Games to be played?? Google online and you will find a number of them. For older kids or adults
Preschool through early elementary grades https://www.totschooling.net/2017/09/free-halloween-printables-for-kids.html?utm_source=ActiveCampaign&utm_medium=email&utm_content=%F0%9F%91%BB%F0%9F%8E%83%F0%9F%95%B7%EF%B8%8F+Halloween+Theme+Learning+Printables&utm_campaign=Halloween+2020