Celebrating World Autism Awareness Day during the Coronavirus lockdown – ironically – is an ideal setting for the kids on the spectrum to enjoy mother nature in all her glory without crowded streets, and negligible noise. But it is unfortunate that they can rarely do so. I hope that all the parents are keeping their kids on the spectrum busy with indoor activities. At times, we run out of ideas and so I wanted to share some activities that would engage the kids and keep them away from boredom.
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
― Benjamin Franklin
Balancing and Confidence Building Exercise – It keeps the child active and engaged within the confines of the home. I try it with my son 3-4 times a week and he really enjoys it as it gives him a sense of achievement. You need to set up stools, chairs, tables or anything where your child can jump on and have a foothold. The use of these objects with different surfaces and heights helps the child improve balance, confidence and is a good exercise for the muscles. It also helps them to follow short commands and instructions with the help of gestures if required.
Automobile or Construction play with pulses or cherry stones – This improves their cognitive and motor skills. You need a big plastic or wooden serving tray or a shallow box which needs to be filled with the pulses or stones. The next step would be to decide a setting and place cars or big transport vehicles on it at different places. Help your child navigate the automobile through the setting to a fixed destination. They can even hold the different objects including the pulses or stones and can have a sensory stimulus. Be careful, to guide them to not to throw these small lentils or stones outside the tray or box and not to take them in their mouth if they are inclined to do so. Photo by Nadja.
Water Play – You can fill your bathtub or an inflated rubber tube with plastic balls, water toys or bubbles and let them play in it. The kids on the spectrum usually love water and it helps to calm them down.
Cooking Helpers – Help them wash and wipe the fruits, vegetables and cut them with a kid’s knife at times. Baking with them is also a good idea! If they are not in the mood to cook or assist you in the kitchen then you can just fill a tray or a bowl with rice grains and teach your child to color them. It enhances their motor and sensory skills. You can call out the names of the different colours and associate the coloured grains with it.
Easter Craft – Paint eggs or decorate them with stickers or marker pens. Make them draw figures and alphabets or just about anything they like. Alternatively, you can make them draw or paint anything they wish on a piece of paper or in their art book every day and then cut each of the drawings into the shape of an egg and make an Easter garland out of it.
Practicing the Holiday Plan or Sleeping Plan with PECS – The parents can ask the school caretakers to prepare a plan with pictures of different family members and activities. The plan is made on the daily activities the child is struggling with, like brushing, sleeping, eating etc. It helps them to associate better with that activity through pictures, get into a rhythm and conquer their struggles little by little.
I hope my suggestions are helpful in keeping our little heroes entertained and an enjoyable learning experience for them and us.
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