Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, often referred to as ASD or autism, can have a difficult time communicating and socializing with others. This can create an added challenge to children with autism in schools. Characteristics of children with autism include repetitive behaviors, difficulty communicating, difficulty expressing themselves and understanding other people’s emotions and difficulty forming relationships with their peers. Teaching special needs children, like many children with autism, requires an educator who is both patient and understands that, while these are common characteristics of autism, every child has a different level of the disorder and thrives from different learning methods. This can be challenging in a large classroom setting, but there are many games for children with autism that can touch on a number of different learning techniques at the same time. Some examples of early educational games for children with autism are:
- Underwater I Spy – This game turns the classic “I spy” game into a fun and stimulating activity for students by allowing them to find different letters of the alphabet floating around a water bottle full of sparkly water. To create the activity, give each student an empty water bottle, a piece of paper with the letters of the alphabet written out on it, plastic alphabet beads (one of each letter), a small pile of glitter and sequins and a highlighter. Students should drop the alphabet beads, glitter and sequins into the bottle. Then, fill the bottles with a half water/half corn syrup mixture. When the caps are tightly secured on the bottles, the students can shake up their I Spy bottles and search for every letter of the alphabet. When they find them, students can highlight the letter they found.
- Matching Halves – This is a good game for students who are learning about shapes. The goal of this game is to have students match the two halves of a shape together in order to complete the shape. Give students an even number of popsicle sticks and some markers, then instruct them to place two sticks next to each other and draw one shape over both pieces. They should create as many shapes as possible. Afterwards, students can mix and match their sticks until they have put all of the shapes back together.
- Sensory Table – For students who are learning colors, this is a fun and easy activity. Give students an ice cube tray and set of tempera colored paints, then have them squeeze the paint into individual ice cube trays. Once each cube is filled, they can put a popsicle stick into each paint tray and stick them in the freezer until frozen. When the paint is frozen, give each student a large piece of paper and pass out their paint trays. Now they can create a paint masterpiece by holding the popsicle stick and swirling the paint cubes over the paper.
These activities are great games for children with autism. Each will stimulate their senses and allow them to have fun while learning. Read more here.