ideas for therapeutic play
Photo by Tatiana Syrikova from Pexels

Kids with Autism Use Play for Therapy

Suppose you feel your child may have Autism Spectrum Disorder

(ASD), or you just received a diagnosis, you’ll naturally first want to know

why. Was it something you did in pregnancy, was it the fault of your home

environment, did you care for her correctly? Surely, it wasn’t those vaccinations?

No one knows what causes ASD, although researchers keep

looking. Instead of assigning blame, the best thing to do now is carry on and

join your child on a fantastic journey.

You will be their first and most excellent companion to find a brighter future.

Sensory Integration

The brain has many jobs. Yes, we think, read, speak, and learn due to its power. Initially, however, before those skills can develop or improve, the brain must be fully integrated with the rest of the body.

How far is that kerb; can I make it in one step or two?

Why does Johnny keep tripping over his own feet?

Oh, no, granny really has a hard time keeping her balance.

All those can be explained with two words, sensory integration. None of us is perfect, of course, and some have significant problems, but it can be improved.

Sensory Integration Therapy is usually the purview of Occupational Therapists who are specially trained in sensory integration techniques. They are valuable resources for evaluation and prescriptive therapy.

If your child has ASD, she probably can use some help with these neurological issues. However, sensory integration problems are not specific to ASD. Many other conditions have sensory integration disorder among the symptoms.

Therapy Is Play; Play Is Therapy

All children need and use therapeutic play each day. These benefits don’t help just kids with neurological problems but with every baby, every child. Come to think of it, this kind of learning lasts well into old age. So, get the family together and enjoy each other’s company and get some neurological work done.

  • Balance: This skill is developed by the inner ear working together with the brain. Stimulating the inner ear’s vestibular system is easy. It takes spinning in circles, lots of spinning. Playing Ring a Rosy, a sitting toy that turns, a merry-go-round, or just holding on to a post or tree and circling around.
  • Problems with Tactile Sensations: Some ASD and other kids are overly sensitive or not sensitive enough to different textures on their skin. Fill a small box with swatches of fabrics and other items of differing textures. Have your children reach in and try to identify the feel of the swatch without looking. Ask her favourite and why. Make a game of identifying the object. The point here is to have the child think about how different materials feel and perhaps gain tolerance.
  • Smell-O-Vision: The sense of smell is essential to taste. Help your child learn to differentiate good smells from those he doesn’t like. Put a blindfold over his eyes or have him put his hands over them if he’s nervous. Hold items under his nose for him to identify. Use peanut butter, an orange or lemon slice, or a flower from the garden.

If you think your child needs evaluation, see your family doctor for a referral. Remember, sooner is always better when addressing ASD concerns.

Photo by Tatiana Syrikova from Pexels