11 Online Games for Kids with Autism
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WHAT IS AUTISM?
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a developmental disorder that presents itself in a wide range of conditions such as lack of social skills, nonverbal communication, and repetitive behaviors. Autism can be both genetic and also be caused by environmental factors. Here is How to know if your child has autism – disclaimer, this is merely a guide, you should consult a doctor to confirm if your child falls under the spectrum. Research has shown that there has been a rise in Autism rate since 2000 – this is because we now have a better understanding of what autism is and that it doesn’t present in one way but rather it falls under a spectrum.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF PLAYING GAMES WITH AN AUTISTIC CHILD?
There are many games to play with an autistic child, but what are the benefits of these games to a developing autistic brain? Well, these games can simulate your child’s senses and make them more susceptible to managing their emotions, identifying emotions of the people around them, and teach them how to (re)act in different social situations.
GAMES TO PLAY WITH AN AUTISTIC CHILD
1. MEMORY GAME
This is one of the best games for autistic children especially when you are trying to help your autistic child with remembering people’s faces. Sometimes, in an autistic child’s mind, faces do not register as different from each other which can be challenging for their day to day lives. To play this game, you are going to need six (or more) pictures consisting of two similar pictures each. You are then going to show your autistic child two similar pictures and then ask them if they recognize any of the pictures and if they can match two of the cards with the same pictures.
2. SPEAKING CARDS
This is another one of the good autism games for your child. These speaking cards will help your child understand, identify, and express the different human emotions and feelings. Autistic children struggle with identifying, understanding, and expressing emotions and these cards can play a big role in pointing out things such as facial expressions, micro-expressions, body language, as well as figurative speech – since a lot of children on the autistic spectrum only understand language in its literal sense and therefore figuring out figurative language can be a challenge.
3. WHAT WOULD YOU DO AT SCHOOL IF
A good autism game for social skills is What Would You Do If… This game creates scenarios of what the child would do if something were to happen or someone were to say something to them. What Would You Do At School If… creates scenarios of what the child would do if a social interaction were to happen to them at school. These scenarios can either be between students or between students and teachers. As a teacher, use scenarios that relate to the autistic child especially in some aspects that they struggle with. For example, if you have an autistic child in your class who struggles with social cues, then you can give them a scenario where they have to determine the right thing to do in a social situation. However, it is important to remember not to push the child further than they are comfortable going. In as much as you want to help them, pushing them out of their comfort zones too fast and too soon may have more negative than positive impacts.
4. WHAT WOULD YOU DO AT HOME IF
Similar to What Would You Do at School If… What Would You Do At Home If… is one of the best autism activities to do with an autistic child. In this version of the game, you create scenarios that are likely to occur at home and ask the child how they would proceed and (re)act to the given scenario. Again, keep these scenarios as real as possible and as close to the child’s struggles as possible so that they resonate with the child and he or she or they can learn from them. You can also give the child relatively easy scenarios for them to answer – this way the child views this as a game that they win sometimes and lose other times, as opposed to lessons they have to learn because they are different.
5. SOCIAL SKILLS
Social Skills is the perfect game for preschoolers with autism. This is usually a card game but you can tweak it and make it accessible online. One way you can do this is by showing the children the cards through your camera or by finding an alternative interactive game online with the same objective. The aim of this game is to enhance an autistic child’s social skills by showing them different situations in different settings which allows them to identify and get acquainted with neurotypical behaviors and show them how to (re)act if or when they find themselves in similar scenarios.
6. WHAT DO I DO
Another one of the important games for students with autism is What Do I Do. The point of this game is to enhance the child’s social and emotional skills. With this game you may present the students with scenarios and ask them the question “what do I do?” For example, “what do I do when Sussie is sad?” and then wait for the students to give you answers on what they would do if they noticed that their friend Sussie was sad. This is a great way to know if; one the autistic child can identify an emotion, and two if they can take action towards that emotion. So if the students say they would ask Sussie what is making her sad, or they would give Sussie a hug to make her feel better – then they have a grasp on what to do when or if someone is sad. However, if their answer has nothing to do with the emotion presented to them, they may not know what to do or even how to identify an emotion given to them.
7. FEELINGS IN A FLASH
Feelings in a Flash is a great game that helps autistic children identify an emotion based on facial expressions. These cards are filled with faces expressing different emotions such as happy, sad, irritated, annoyed, angry, etc. To play this game, you will show the card to an autistic child and ask them to identify the emotion that they think is being displayed. This is such a fun way to teach the child the different human emotions based on facial expressions alone, this way they can be able to identify them in people around them and this can highly help them in social situations.
8. THE SORTING GAME
The Sorting Game is a great game for kids on the autistic spectrum who enjoy order. These kids will often like things done a certain way and this game is a great way to help them organize things and put them in their place while making it fun. You can give the child games such as Tetris that help them relax and organize things and solve puzzles, or you can give them materials of different colors and numbers and let them sort them out according to number, color, size, shape, and so on.
GAMES FOR AN AUTISTIC TEENAGER
Reading is one of the best autism learning activities that your teenage child can indulge in. Reading, especially fictional books, requires the use of imagination and this can help your autistic child with cognitive functions. Additionally, reading will also enhance the child’s vocabulary and language skills as well as comprehension skills. But aside from these benefits, reading is also a positive activity for your autistic child because it can be done anywhere and especially in quiet places, which most people on the autistic spectrum prefer. However, this can also be viewed as a negative thing because it means that they are isolated from their peers more since reading is more of a solo activity. It is important, as the parent, to make sure that your child has regulated time for reading and also interacting with other people.
10. DRAW SOMETHING
Draw Something is a fun game for kids with autism. This is an interactive mobile app game that lets your child play with other people virtually. To play this game, your teenager will have to download the Draw Something app and install it on their phone. Then they will have to draw something and send it to someone on their list and the other person has to guess what your teen was trying to draw. When or if they get it right, it is then their turn to draw something and let your kid guess what they are drawing.
To make sure that your child wants to play this game or is interested in interactive mobile games, let them play with you first before they add anyone else on their list and see if they like it.
This game is both fun and educational in that it will help your autistic child identify things from pictures which can be beneficial to their growth in identifying human expressions.
11. COMPUTER GAMES
Computer games are great for autistic children, especially video games. Video games can teach your child motor skills, social skills, and problem solving skills – this, of course, depends on the type of video game(s) your child likes playing. You can introduce your teen to video games slowly, scheduling a time for video games on a given day – say, Monday at 5:30. Then you are going to pick a game that you think your child can play easily and play with them for the first few times until they have adapted and are comfortable with it. You can then introduce them to different types of games for different types of skills.
It is important to note, however, that some people on the autistic spectrum are photosensitive and therefore playing video games that use a lot of flash graphics can trigger them. If this is the case with your autistic teen, then maybe keep them away from video games or choose simple games with simple graphics.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. How do you entertain an autistic child?
There are many ways in which to entertain an autistic child. First and foremost, you have to identify where on the spectrum your autistic child falls, this way you can pick out activities that the child will both enjoy and be comfortable with. However, for the sake of this article, here are a few ways you can entertain your autistic child; visit the park, visit their favorite store at the mall, do one of their favorite activities, read together, watch tv shows they like, play video games, and play board games. These are only a few examples of the things you can do with an autistic child. Here are a few more Activities for 2-year-old autistic child, hopefully, you can find more activities that will inspire your next play date with your autistic child.
2. What are some good apps for kids with autism?
Thanks to technology, there are many apps that have been developed specifically for people on the autistic spectrum. These apps range across the spectrum and aim at aiding and improving the lives of people on the spectrum. Here are some of the best apps for kids with autism; Proloquo2Go is an app that helps nonverbal kids on the spectrum with their language skills, Endless Reader helps your kid learn words in an easy and fun way, and ABC Autismo which helps develop language skills not only in English but also Spanish and Portuguese. Check out this article by Healthline for a full list of the best apps for autistic children.
In conclusion, this article has brought you 11 online games you can play with your autistic child whether as a parent or a teacher. These free learning games for children with autism are great tools that help your autistic child in developing social interactions, identifying emotions in themselves and others, and articulating their needs and feelings to those around them thereby helping make their day-to-day lives all the easier. We hope that these games will inspire and motivate you to try new activities with your autistic child.
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