Is your little angel still unable to do his shoelaces? Did you take him to a doctor because he was lagging behind in school, and you worry? The doctor sat you down calmly and told you that your little darling suffers from Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD)? It must have felt like your world came crashing down. Now, imagine what your child goes through every day. Children suffering from Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) go through many difficulties every day, with things as simple as trying to communicate what they want for breakfast. They have trouble understanding intimacy and other human relations. However, take them outside and let them soak in the sun, and you will notice significant progress in their behavior. Here are five outdoor activities that you can try with your kid if he suffers from ASD:
- Head To The Playground: After the doctor explains to you what autism is, and how it affects your child, you can go back home and read up on all the literature available regarding this particular disorder. So, you will come to know how children suffering from ASD have difficulty controlling their motor movements. Why then should I suggest you take your kid to the playground? Once you give your child the freedom to explore, he will slowly develop coordination between his limbs. It helps him learn how to balance himself, increase his vestibular orientation as well as pick up on some social skills. You don’t need to hover and panic for his safety. Instead, stay close at hand and encourage him to try different swings and slides in the playground.
- Trip To The Water-Park: If you visit the water-park closest to your home on a summer day, you are likely to find kids shouting ‘Marco’ and ‘Polo’. It is a wonderful game to try out with kids with disabilities. It creates spatial awareness and benefits your child’s auditory response mechanism. Since your kid will be in the pool with other kids, he is also going to learn to socialize with other children. If he does not want to join in on a game of ‘Marco-Polo’, you can always direct him to the ‘slip-and-slide’ and encourage him to do some water surfing and skiing. You can try other kinds of water therapy like letting your kid play in the rain. Hand him a small pail and a broomstick and let him slosh up the driveway. Rain can activate your child’s sensory neurons and make him respond better to stimuli.
- Treasure Hunt Time: Kids are intrigued by looming suspense, and treasure hunts are great opportunities for it. Make a list of things you want your kid to find – rocks, sticks, leaves, flowers that he knows from his coloring books. Or, you can plan a more serious treasure hunt and leave clues for your child to follow the trail. Remember to leave simple clues, and try drawing the clues more often than writing them down. The hunt will provoke your kid to activate the left hemisphere of his brain as he analyzes the clue while simultaneously coordinating his motor movements.
- Try The Workshop: Summer and the outdoors in general are good excuses to build things. You can begin with building a tree house for your kid. For a change, how about you let him help you this time around? It will be an opportunity to encourage your kid to socially engage with you and learn to cooperate. You can hand him the easier tasks like painting the wood planks while you do the heavy-lifting. Children with ASD are particularly aware of colors, and it helps them express themselves without having to speak. You will have noticed how your kid takes to his coloring books; you can only imagine how excited he will be when painting his tree house. Also, all kids love clay dough. The sensation of the dough slipping through their fingers and the chance to create and recreate brings incomparable joy to them. So, let them into your workshop, albeit under strict supervision. You will also be teaching your kid to interact and share.
- A Game Of Hopscotch: All kids love hopscotch! It is the easiest game to play and as long as you have chalk, you can play hopscotch anywhere. Ask your child to draw the blocks for hopscotch on your driveway and get started. Drawing the blocks will ensure that your little one develops his sense of measurements, and playing the game will help him learn to coordinate his movements as he jumps and hops around on the blocks.
Children with ASD may take longer to do certain things that other kids might pick up easily, but remember that they are unique and special in their own way. So be patient and discover how your child looks at and experiences the world differently as you do these outdoor activities together.
Do you have any other outdoor learning activity tips you can do with your child? Let us know in the comments section below! And don’t forget to share this with your friends and family!