Autism is a developmental disorder that causes an impaired ability to communicate and interact with others, while restricting interests and activities. There is no cure for this disorder, at least so far, but its symptoms may improve over the years.
In fact, the earlier treatment begins, the better the long-term prognosis tends to be. This is why specialists recommend performing a series of activities and/or educational games aimed at children with autism developing their abilities and skills, as well as improving their ability to communicate, especially with their parents.
3 games and exercises to help a child with autism
1. Playing with letters
A large part of children with autism have language difficulties. They often develop poor vocabulary and incorrect grammatical structures that prevent them from communicating easily. They also have trouble understanding the language of others, so they are unable to understand simple questions, instructions and jokes. Therefore, it is important to familiarize them with letters and words. A good strategy to achieve this is through games and activities that include letters.
For example, you can cut out some letters from cardboard and place them inside a large sock. At the same time, put in front of the child a card with the letters you hid. The game will consist of the little one finding, inside the sock, the letters that are on the cardboard, to make them match. Every time he finds a letter you can pronounce it and motivate him to repeat the sound.
You can also give him a letter and encourage him to look for it throughout the house, as if it were a hidden treasure. The child will have a lot of fun and, at the same time, will learn to identify the letters.
2. Playing with numbers
Many children with autism experience a great fascination with numbers, even though they are often unable to understand the logic of calculations. Still , they love to always line up or play with the same number of objects. You can use that interest to your advantage to stimulate their number skills.
Look for different types of objects and have handy some boxes where you can store them. For example, you can find some pencils, buttons, balls or even socks and various boxes according to these sizes. When you have everything, sit down to play with the child and ask him to put a certain number of objects in each box depending on its shape, color or class.
You can also take advantage of the hour dinner or snack to count how many cookies you have eaten or how many cereals you add to your milk. And while you bathe him, you can sing number songs to him.
3. Make him listen and understand you
One of the biggest problems of a child with autism is his difficulty in communicating with others. In fact, the majority tend to ignore conversations, instructions or questions, either because they don’t understand or because they don’t care. However, this is one of the areas that demands the most attention, since the degree of autonomy and independence that is achieved in adulthood will largely depend on it.
The first step is to call the child’s attention before speaking. either touching him on the shoulder or calling him by her name. The goal is for the child to get used to paying attention every time he is spoken to, thus increasing the chances that he will be able to understand at least part of the message. It is also important to speak clearly, slowly and making pauses. For example, instead of saying: “Take the spoon and eat the soup”; you can say: “Take the spoon” and when it is done: “Eat the soup”.
The second step is to repeat the phrases several times , until you make sure that the child has understood them. It is convenient that you are redundant or that you paraphrase, this increases the chances that the child will understand you. Another trick is to talk to her about topics that pique her interest, like what he’s doing right now or what he’s going to do in a while. In this way he will feel more motivated to listen to what you say and little by little he will adapt to having a conversation.