Monday, November 3, 2008

Activities and Resources for Kids on the Autism Spectrum

I’ve posted a comment on Autism Blogger because someone had asked “What are some good activities for autistic kids.” My response was something like as follows:

I think swimming is a great activity for all areas of the autism spectrum. It's great exercise plus it's a great resource for sensory and deep pressure needs. My kids have always come out of the pool feeling better, calmer and more engaged. If you have an in-door community pool or a YMCA in your community, then this is definitely worth it. My area community pool costs us about $5.00 per person to swim and we pay as we go.

Community autism-sponsored programs like the Arc, Autism Community Resources or similar groups (look around) sponsoring activities in your area like music or yoga classes, free day camp, hayrides in the fall, and Christmas party events that are specifically designed for autistic kids—and a lot of these programs are donated or privately funded so they are free for your kids. I remember one event that we participated in through the Autism Community Resources (events for autistic kids and their siblings--so typical peers would also attend). It was a hayride at a farm, which was very nice, and then they hosted a HUGE campfire and offered hot dogs, hot chocolate and other fun foods, like smoors. Then all the kids sang songs around the campfire. It was a great evening. Other events have been day camps (packed with activities and music events) and I think we even saw Seusical the Musical through this group at a theatre, intended to include autistic kids. It's a great organization! And such great people!!

Even some community programs for typical kids like karate, or wall climbing is great for kids with autism, and are usually welcoming—my son has had some great instructors who have helped him “fit in.” And the kids in the class learn to be welcoming, helpful and friendly. So don’t be afraid to talk to the instructor and ask.

Social skills classes are also a great find if you find them for a reasonable amount of money. Most (at least in my area) are at least 50.00 a group session, but sometimes group organizations (like the Arc) offer them for much less by a qualified special ed teacher. My son has enjoyed these classes for fun peer interaction (game playing, etc.) and has benefited by learning social skills.

A friend of mine, who has a son with aspergers, loves to play an instrument in the band. He does well and fits right in. As she has quoted "Who knew!"

Autism Community Resources in Southeastern Mass.

Autism Community Resources in Western Mass.

The Arc of the United States, for a chapter near you.

Google autism resources or community resources for your area.


Tanya @ Teenautism said...

These are some great ideas for activities! I wholeheartedly agree about swimming - Nigel loves it, and I've read about other ASD kids who do also.

Jeff Deutsch said...

Hello Ms. Collins,

Thank you very much for posting that! I'm an Aspie working to help other Aspies and autists, so I'm always on the lookout for things like this. I especially like the pointer to ARC.

Keep up the good work!

Jeff Deutsch

Holly Nappi Collins said...

Thanks, Jeff!