Autism-Friendly Activities for Parents and Caregivers

Engaging in activities that cater to the unique needs and preferences of autistic children can significantly enhance their developmental progress and overall well-being. Here is a list of autism-friendly activities that parents and caregivers can participate in with their autistic child:

  1. Sensory Play

Description: Activities that engage the senses (sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell).

Examples:

Sand and Water Play: Encourages tactile exploration and can be calming.

Play Dough: Enhances fine motor skills and sensory input.

Sensory Bins:  Filled with rice, beans, or other materials for hands-on exploration.

  1. Outdoor Activities

Description: Activities that involve nature and outdoor exploration.

Examples:

Nature Walks: Stimulates multiple senses and promotes physical activity.

Gardening: Teaches responsibility and provides tactile and visual stimulation.

Picnics: Allows for a change of scenery and exposure to different sensory experiences.

  1. Art and Craft Projects

Description: Creative activities that allow self-expression and improve fine motor skills.

Examples:

Painting and Drawing: Provides a medium for expression and can be soothing.

Collages: Combines various textures and materials, enhancing sensory experiences.

Clay Sculpting: Engages tactile senses and encourages creativity.

  1. Music and Movement

Description: Activities involving rhythm, sound, and physical movement.

Examples:

Dance Parties: Promotes physical activity and coordination.

Musical Instruments: Allows exploration of different sounds and rhythms.

Singing: Enhances language skills and provides auditory stimulation.

  1. Interactive Games

Description: Games that promote social interaction and cognitive skills.

Examples:

Board Games: Adapted to the child’s level to teach turn-taking and strategy.

Puzzles: Enhances problem-solving skills and focus.

Role-Playing Games: Encourages imagination and social skills.

  1. Structured Physical Activities

Description: Activities that provide physical exercise in a structured environment.

Examples:

Swimming: Offers sensory feedback and improves motor skills.

Trampoline Play: Provides vestibular input.

Yoga: Enhances body awareness and relaxation.

  1. Technology-Based Activities

Description: Utilizing technology for educational and recreational purposes.

Examples:

Educational Apps: Tailored for various skill levels and interests.

Interactive Videos:  Engages visual and auditory senses.

Virtual Reality (VR): Offers controlled sensory experiences.

  1. Reading and Storytelling

Description: Activities that promote language and cognitive development.

Examples:

Reading Books: Choose books with engaging visuals and simple text.

Storytelling: Encourages imagination and language skills.

Audiobooks: Provides an auditory alternative for those who enjoy listening.

  1. Cooking and Baking

Description: Activities that teach life skills and involve multiple senses.

Examples:

Simple Recipes: Involve the child in measuring and mixing ingredients.

Decorating Cookies: Encourages creativity and fine motor skills.

Tasting New Foods: Expands sensory experiences and preferences.

  1. Animal Interaction

Description: Activities that involve animals and can provide emotional support.

Examples:

Visiting a Petting Zoo: Offers tactile and visual stimulation.

Therapy Animals: Interaction with trained animals can be calming.

Caring for a Pet: Teaches responsibility and empathy.

Shrub Oak International School incorporates these autism-friendly activities regularly, both on and off campus, to support the holistic development of our students. Our comprehensive program includes: sensory play, outdoor activities, art and craft projects, music and movement, interactive games, structured physical activities, technology-based learning, reading and storytelling, cooking and baking, and animal interaction. These activities are tailored to meet the unique needs of each student, fostering their cognitive, social, and emotional growth. By providing a nurturing and stimulating environment, Shrub Oak ensures that our students receive the benefits of these activities in a structured and supportive setting, enhancing their overall educational experience.

Participating in these autism-friendly activities can foster a stronger bond between parents/caregivers and their autistic child, while also providing essential sensory, cognitive, and social benefits. It is important to tailor these activities to the individual preferences and sensitivities of the child to ensure a positive and enriching experience. For more resources and information on activities tailored to autistic children, visit our website www.shruboak.org.

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