A great way to ensure that your autistic toddler is learning and wants to continue learning is by playing fun autistic learning activities. Avoid anything with too much complexity, as your child is still young, but the activities should stimulate the senses, encourage your child to interact with his or her environment, and encourage them to think.
The following learning activities are enjoyable, educational, and are suitable for most autistic preschoolers:
– Name the Sound – use a tape recorder and record a number of common sounds around your house as well as animal sounds and other common noises, such as a clock ticking, a dog barking, a whistle, a baby crying, people talking and other sounds. If you don’t want to record them yourself, you’re sure to find lots of sounds on the Internet that you can save to a file and playback during the guessing game. This game helps your child to listen, follow instructions, express him or herself, and to laugh at some silly sounds.
– Story Telling – draw pictures or find some pictures in a coloring book and have your child tell you about what is going on in the picture. Ask a lot of questions to encourage your child to develop a story around the picture and use his or her imagination. This is also a great way to reiterate practical and social skills.
– I Spy – This classic game is one that you no doubt played as a child. Either using something in a picture or an item actually within the room, say “I spy with my little eye, something that is…” and name the color of the object. The game works well both ways, allowing the child to both be the guesser and the person who spies the object. For every incorrect answer give a clue about the object. The game helps to teach children colors and how to put words together in the right order.
– Touch and Guess – Place an object in a cloth bag or in a box with a hole big enough that your child can reach inside and feel the object, but not see it. Let your child feel the item with his or her hand and guess what it is. Once he or she guesses switch the item. With every incorrect guess, give a clue. Use items with many different textures such as a tennis ball, a marble, a golf ball, sandpaper, a tissue, and other rough, smooth, fuzzy (etc) objects. Encourage your child to describe what he or she is feeling. What does it feel like? What could you do with this kind of an item? What could it be?
– If It Were Me – this game can be effective for building conversational skills. In it, you begin the game “if it were me who found a puppy, I would…” or “if it were me who got lost in the mall, I would…” and let your child finish the sentence. It also provides you with a very good opportunity to understand what your child is thinking, and suggest safe responses for serious events like getting lost, crossing the street, and other safety issues.
When it comes to autistic learning activities, there are lots of different ways for you and your preschooler to have fun and be educational at the same time. Plus these suggestions are pretty adaptable and can be altered to make them suitable for children at differing developmental levels.