Engaging autistic children in activities over the holidays can seem like a challenge but it honestly does not need to be. It does however require some planning and preparation but it is by no means impossible.
Ingredients needed will include: paper, scissors, stamping supplies, ribbons, buttons, glitter, craft supplies, old cards, old magazines, straws, beads and pretty much anything small and colourful you have lying around the house. Think cotton wool, wool, leaves, flowers, rice or noodles … Think textures and colour!
Engaging and maintaining attention of a child with autism is easier to achieve when the child is motivated and interested. Working on hand and finger skills with peg boards and geo boards is great but these items are costly and the novelty wears of quickly. We have found that the best way to help the fine motor development of an autistic child is by engaging them in making decorative items, cards, textures art projects and gifts.
Not just will creative projects benefit the motor development of the child it will also help with sensory integration.
A few easy projects will include:
- Making cards with stamping
- Cutting and pasting activities
- Using a craft punch to make decorative strips of papers that can be used on cards or collages
- Tearing paper, newspaper, magazines that can then be used for paper mache activities
Getting a bit more creative and slightly more suitable to the 4+ year old:
Introduce a theme for the day at home (like birds) and align your story to incorporate birds, watch a bird You Tube video, song or nursery rhyme. Get the child to make their own bird by colouring in pictures of a bird or cutting out bird shapes and decorating them. Hang the completed art project where the child can see what they have made! This can be done with pretty much anything from super hero jet packs to windmills. Helping your child make a story character or action figure after they have seen it on television or heard a story about it will go a long way towards helping them engage for longer periods of time.
Amazing K is a registered ECD and Partial Care Facility in Johannesburg. We are a private autism school and therapy centre for children from age 2 years. Our learners receive the best of both the schooling and therapy world. We offer Individualized Education Programs involved, ABA, Speech- and Augmentive Alternative Communication (AAC) therapy as well as a full and adapted Academic Curriculum. Read more about this Johannesburg Autism school here.