The Best Toys for Autistic Children
As a parent of a child with autism, it may be discouraging at times when your child seems disinterested in several types of toys and games. Because autistic children process things differently and at a different level than other children, their playtime needs may be a little different. Autistic children can love toys and games just as much as other children with the right types of toys.
Don’t Pick Toys Based Off of Age Levels
When choosing toys for autistic children, do not go based off of age levels. You may find that your nine-year-old child is interested in a toy that is labeled for ages 4-7. That is okay. Also, if your child seems disinterested in a toy, do not give up on that toy. Your child may be interested in the same toy a few months or even years later. For example, a one-year-old child with autism may not pay any attention to a signing, rolling toy. However, it may then become his favorite toy when they are three.
Some of the best toys for autistic children are those that teach cause and effect. Many infant toys teach cause and effect by having a reaction to the child’s action. An example of these types of toys is a plush animal that sings if you push its hand or vibrates when you touch its feet. While they are made for infants, your child may still enjoy them as a toddler or older.
Pick Toys that Help Gross Motor Skills
Another great idea for toys for autistic children are toys that develop gross motor skills. Toys such as trampolines, tricycles, and bicycles help children with autism with their physical and gross motor skill development. Special attachments are made for bicycles that allow the child to ride with his parents. Both the child and parent peddle, but the parent can control the brakes and steering of the bicycle.
Educational Games are Always a Win
Educational computer games are also a fun way to catch your child’s attention. Pick educational computer games that are animated to keep your child’s attention. Find games that allow your child to discover and make things happen. For example, a learning game that plays different sounds or music when a different item is touched is a perfect choice. Since many children with autism are tactile learners, allow them to experience educational games on devices such as an iPad. An iPad or other tablet can allow an autistic child to use his fingers to explore the game.
Some other great toys for autistic children include toys and educational items that are predictable and repeatable. Many children with autism love to watch the same show or movie over and over again. While parents may find this counter-productive, the predictability of the movie can help your child develop words of his own. He will take pleasure in repeating lines from the movie, and as a parent, you can say lines from the movie to interact with your child. Other predictable and repeatable toys are puzzles and books.
When it comes to toys for autistic children, there are no set favorites. Every child is different and will have a specific toy they love. Don’t get discouraged if your child doesn’t find interest in the new toy you bought them, but instead, just keep trying, choosing toys that appeal to the senses.
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