Why use sensory activities for autism? According to a leading autism charity, The National Autistic Society, around 700,000 people are on the autism spectrum. This lifelong condition affects three main areas of a person’s life - their social interaction, communication, and imagination. Autistic individuals experience problems with all types of sensory stimulation, which can leave them feeling anxious on a daily basis.
To work towards reducing that feeling of anxiety, it’s important to try and develop their social skills through sensory activities. We pride ourselves on our expertise of sensory development and by following these ten sensory activities for a child with autism, you will be able to successfully engage an autistic individual in games that stimulate their minds.
Sensory Activities for Child with Autism
Create a Dance Party
Engage the individual with autism with a sensory dance party. Help them to learn how to listen to a rhythm, count, and develop their physical coordination by playing their favorite music and holding an impromptu dance party. Introduce sensory lighting to create an exciting and visually stimulating environment.
Bubbles are extremely calming and soothing for those with autism. There are a number of ways to involve bubbles in activities that will engage and stimulate the mind. Fitting a sensory room with bubble towers will grab attention and create a colorful environment that aids visual development and communication skills. Other ways of interacting users with bubbles could include asking them to count as many bubbles as they can aloud, or seeing if they can follow them with their fingers to improve their tactile development.
Sometimes it’s good to be a little messy! This game is extremely fun for little hands and has a variety of benefits for those with Autism. Finger painting allows individuals to experience and explore a variety of textures, tantalizing their senses through touch. Due to autism often inflicting challenges on the way a person processes sensory information, having children playing with paints is a way of getting them used to tactile input. This will help them to become more comfortable with processing sensory information in everyday life.
Playing in a Ball Pit
Playing in ball pits is a great sensory activity for encouraging hand-eye coordination. For those with autism, ball pits allow them to enjoy themselves and relax while benefiting from the sensory input of the pit. There are various visual, tactile, and auditory benefits of this activity, from the brightly coloured balls, to the way the balls massage the entire body, and the way the balls sound as children move around the pit. It’s a fun activity that can really help children with autism to experience sensory stimulation in an enjoyable way.
Heightening levels of comfort is extremely important for individuals with autism. The pressure of a beanbag chair as an individual sits down and is engulfed in it, is great for calming the nervous system. These soothing inputs are also known to help those with autism to concentrate better, helping to improve their communication skills. Activities can be incorporated while an individual is sat on a beanbag chair, such as reading or storytelling.
Make Some Music
Another tactical approach to encouraging engagement from those with autism, is through the use of sensory interactive wall panels. These panels are great for stimulating an individual’s sense of rhythm and sound. Help them to develop these skills by engaging them in a fun activity; create a sound sequence for them to copy back to you, and allow them to enjoy themselves while doing so!
Tactile stimulation is extremely beneficial to those with autism. Tactile and dexterity products allow individuals to interact with things in their environment, helping them to become more comfortable with sensory information coming in from their environment on a daily basis. Collect a variety of objects that feel different, and present them to the child while they are blindfolded, and see if they can guess what it is. Objects could include bean bags, soft balls, and cloths. There are a variety of other tactile and dexterity products that are a little larger but beneficial for those with autism to interact with.
Puppet shows are a simple but extremely effective activity for those with autism to participate in. This can be as simple as putting socks onto your hands and acting out a puppet show – the role play helps to teach emotions and improve social skills. You could get even more creative with this by using a light projector – create different characters through creating shadows on the wall and help those with autism to create their own.
A portable interactive floors provides a great game for children with autism to play. The projections respond to the body’s movement and encourage a unique sensory experience, incorporating physical and mental stimulation that is extremely beneficial to those with autism. This activity helps to improve color recognition, hand eye coordination, social interaction, and more!
It has been proven that scents can have a positive effect on a person’s mood, reducing stress and improving self-confidence and physical and mental performance. Create a relaxing environment for those with autism by introducing an aromatherapy room. The relaxed space will reduce levels of anxiousness and help the individual to engage their mind without distraction. Lavender is a great scent to incorporate into this room, helping to induce a calm and relaxing environment.
Ultimately, engaging someone with autism can be a challenging but rewarding experience. It is important to continue to help them learn how to connect and communicate with other people in the world, so they can feel less anxious and improve their overall development. These sensory activities for autism are fun but also extremely beneficial. If you need any further guidance with dealing with autism, contact us to find out the best activities for your needs.