April is Autism Awareness month a time to inform people and plan fundraising activities for research for quality treatment. Autism is a disorder that affects one in every 110 children in the United States that more attention must be addressed at younger ages. Some early indicators that one may have autism is lack of interest in social play with same-age children and imaginative play, lack of eye contact, repeating motions or words and delay in speech development for age. Review this YouTube click titled, “What is Autism? Do You Know the Signs? for more information on autism. Presently there is not cure but there are effective treatments that can begin in the child’s early years.
As a preschool teacher or parents these are some activities that can work with autistic children:
- Use a dollhouse and pretend the dolls are going through the daily routine at school (pretend play).
- Spray shaving cream on a table and let the child smear it all around (sensory).
- Play a board game like “Candy Land” and reward each child for taking turns (taking turns).
- Play “I Spy” where both children had to look at the same object (sharing experience).
- Pretend to be different animals where children must mimic animal behaviors and sounds (imitation).
When you engage in these and other activities remember to have fun and offer frequent rewards to keep the autistic child engaged. As you continue to engage in different activities with the child work on phasing out rewards as the desired behaviors are increased. Continue to research and provide best practices culturally developmentally age appropriate activities.