In this article I will explain 10 Activities and games for autistic children Which will serve to have fun and learn various skills.
He autism Is a syndrome of neurological development that American Psychiatric Association Defined by the presence of deficits in reciprocity Social and communication, as well as repetitive or unusually restricted behaviors.
This syndrome has its onset in childhood. Parents often begin to worry when they see that their child, despite being able to recite the alphabet or repeat Phrases you have heard on television, never use the language for communicative purposes 1 .
Autism is a heterogeneous syndrome, so that there are no two children or adults who have autism and who have exactly the same symptomatological profile.
While these people share behavioral and communication disorders, in each person the severity of the picture is different and the symptoms Experience variations with the course of development. In addition, although most present some type of intellectual alteration, this is not a Inherent in autism spectrum disorders.
Although progress is variable and behavioral characteristics change over time, most autistic children continue to experience Characteristic symptoms of the disorder once they are adults. These are translated into problems related to independence, employment, relationships Social and mental health.
Therefore, the priority objectives of the treatment of autism spectrum disorders are to minimize the Disorder and associated deficits, maximize functional independence and quality of life and relieve stress in the family and nearby environment.
To achieve these objectives, the essential ingredients in any treatment will be: to facilitate development and learning, to promote the Socialization, reduce maladaptive behaviors, and educate / support families 2 .
10 activities that kids love and people with autism
While it is true that there are certain activities that an autistic person will enjoy more than others, the key is not so much to choose the task as in To enrich it.
The secret is to apply the principles of multisensory stimulation to leisure and routine activities with the autistic person.
What is multisensory stimulation?
This is to stimulate each and every one of the senses when we perform an activity.
In line with what I highlighted earlier, I found in my work with autistic a series of activities and patterns that have worked in a way Surprising and based on this principle:
There is a key difference in saying"It's time to go to bed, let's put on our pajamas, etc."or sing the typical song"Let's go to bed there's Rest, so that tomorrow we can get up early."
When I realized that talking"normally"is not effective with autistic people, I decided to try to say things by singing. It worked.
It is not a matter of reciting what we would normally say by giving it a melodic tone. It is about creating musical codes with the autistic person. The most Surprising of all is that he will learn it and in a few days he will surprise you singing it in unison with you.
With Ana, I created a song for every routine activity that had to be performed: wake up, clean, eat, walk, sleep, etc. In a few days, the She learned and when it came time to do some activity, it was she who surprised me singing the songs.
I will return to use the example of Ana to illustrate this idea. One day Ana was inept. He did not want to leave the house and nothing appealed to him.
I decided to pick up crayons and paper and try to communicate with her through drawings. It worked. We spend hours and hours drawing Tireless and sharing fun and joy.
Sometimes autistic people will feel overwhelmed by the world and will have the typical"I do not feel like facing reality"day.
On these occasions, you use artistic language as a means of expressing frustrations and feelings. You can also see that your mood is You will see reflected in the colors you choose. This way, you will know if the activity is working or not.
The beauty of the world
Walking is something that generally Autistic people .
Take advantage of the moments of walking to channel the attention of the person on the beauty of nature. A single flower can trigger a large Happiness for an autistic person: the key is to convey your own feeling.
Surprise yourself with the beautiful things you see when you go walking, provokes smiles and conveys feelings. Even the pleasant breeze can be a theme of conversation.
This idea serves a double task: on the one hand, create a sensation of maximum enjoyment of the walk and on the other, distract the autistic person from the Possible candidate things to produce a reaction of anxiety .
The importance of having fun
More happiness means, on the one hand, greater learning and, on the other hand, more opportunities for learning. This is an essential cocktail for the People with autism.
Now, what keys tell me that the autistic person is enjoying an activity? 4
Their visual attention to activity is the clearest key. The longer you keep your attention on the activity to be developed, the more you will like it.
Another key is the anticipation of the autistic person. Generally, autistic people will wait passively for your instructions. This is not so if the Activity is proving attractive.
If you notice anticipation in the person, rebuild it and remember that this activity especially likes it. Most likely you will name the Activity and will ask you every day to do it.
The power of repetition
The more familiar an activity for the autistic person, the more you will like it. This is so because they enjoy the routine, that is, of the Activities structured in time and space.
Whenever you do an activity, unless it involves visiting different places, try to always be in the same place and at the same time.
If there are no activities that the autistic person enjoys, build them
Even bath time can be a fun activity.
An example could be to create bubbles of soap in the person's arm that you will then rinse with water. Repeat it several times and you will see an answer Smiling on the part of the person. Repetitive small details is how to amuse these people.
On the other hand, how do you know if an activity is not fun?
Just as important as identifying fun-generating activities is to realize if an activity is getting boring or if something Generated fun, he stopped doing it.
If the person turns his eyes between turns or if you notice changes in his body language that indicate that he is being passive, he discards that activity or Generates newness with new details.
The 10 second rule
Whatever the activity you perform, try to make it a turn-based game. This will cause the autistic person to maintain their interest and participation in the activity.
Since passivity generates anxiety and boredom, try to have the person give a verbal or non-verbal response every 10 seconds.
You will need to start an act, pause and wait often to give the opportunity to the person for their turn communicative. Be patient during breaks and Waiting for a response from the person.
If this answer is not given, change your strategy.
Learn to detect when it is time to end the activity
Again, it is very unlikely that an autistic person will verbally transmit you that you want to end the activity. If the person's answers Diminish and you can not generate them through variations, it is time to end the activity and offer another range of different possibilities.
Likewise, if you are the one who is getting bored, do not hesitate to change your activity. The person will detect very accurately if you are bored by Half of your nonverbal language and will be frustrated not to understand your reaction.
If when you try to abort the activity because you want to but you notice that the responses of the autistic person become more intense, disorganized and Hyperactive, it's time to calm things down gradually.
Gradually slow down the activity and lower your tone of voice. If this does not work, then simply verbally expresses"the activity has been Finish"and always propose an alternative:"the activity is over because now it's time to...".
Activities with objects
When you serve objects to create a playful activity, the difference is that you are most likely the only person who will use the object, there will not be Pattern of shifts with the object.
Start by making a small gesture with the object to provoke a great effect. Observe the reaction of the person: smiles, expressions of pleasure, etc. Yes The person recedes or seems bored or worried, stops and waits. Try to repeat the action but attenuated and try to observe again if the Person emits some response with the body or face.
If the person smiles, approaches, seems interested or excited, repeats the gesture with the object and then pauses. Wait for the person to communicate Some way you want to do it again.
Beyond the concept of"autism"
The first time I came in contact with an autistic person, all my knowledge about the disorder collapsed in a matter of minutes.
In general terms, all that is usually described as characteristic of the disorder is true. However, each case is different and in most cases Opportunities to have knowledge in the area contributes to forming preconceived ideas that can be counterproductive when it comes to relating to these people.
My first advice when it comes to contributing to the happiness, development and well-being of people categorized within the autistic spectrum is not getting Limits to the thought that they are different, that they will not be able to communicate with you nor you with them and that they will be flat and inaccessible.
It is not like this. Those who have limitations in terms of their communicative abilities are more concerned with a question of the use of language as it is We do it to a lack or lack of communication in general.
Yes, they will communicate with you and you with them.
Yes, they will be highly satisfying communications and you will realize that the world can be perceived and lived from other points of view.
What are we doing wrong?
Of the people listed on the autistic spectrum I learned a lot and I came to ask, are we the ones who have a problem?
I am writing to you: surely while you are reading these words you are extracting content, interpreting, associating emotionality, empathizing, etc. However, an autistic person will not be able to do so if they only have"informative content".
It will do so starting from other communicative keys. He will be able to empathize, interpret, associate emotions, etc., but not from words.
This is our big mistake. We tend to always look at content when we talk and this is actually a limitation.
The verbal content in a communicative act transmits 35% of the total communicative information. If we include in the equation all other stimuli That we can perceive auditively in a conversation (tone of voice, volume, rhythm), we will only receive 45% of the total of the information. This is not everything: He nonverbal language Transmits the remaining 55% of the information! 3
Knowing this let us reflect, what are we doing wrong? We are communicating badly.
People on the autism spectrum communicate, perhaps, worse than us? I do not think so,…
If they only ignore the content, only 35% of the information is lost. The rest of the people, if we only focus on the content, we only receive 35% of the information! Incredible but true.
Being even more drastic, I would recommend to anyone who wishes Develop effective communication Train with someone on the autistic spectrum. Sounds challenging and, it is.
Unlike us, they are transparent. Why? They do not tend to mess up their communications with verbiage.
My father always told me:"you should be an actress." He says that my expression conveys everything. I used this when I met Ana through the Adcor Foundation, Right away we connect.
And what other activities for autistic children and adults do you know?
- Lord, C et al. (2000). Autism Spectrum Disorders. Neuron, vol 8 (2), 355-363
- Myers, SM and Johnson, C. (2007). American Academy of Pediatrics. Vol. 120, no.5, 1162-1182
- Mehrabian, Albert (1969):"Some referents and measures of nonverbal behavior". Behavior Research Methods and Instrumentation, 1, 203-207.
- Rogers, S.J., Dawson, G., Vismara, L.A. (2012). An early start for your child with autism: using everyday activities to help kids connect,
Communicate and learn. The Guilford Press: New York.
- Gómez, G.M. (2009). Multisensory classes in special education: stimulation and sensorial integration in snoezelen spaces. Editorial
- Image source 1.