When my boys were very little we would often go visit their MeeMaw at least once a week. We would walk in the door and she would always have these colorful plastic cups stacked up in a tower waiting just for them. As soon as their eyes found it, the race was one between my three boys on who could reach it first and knock it down. Taylor would usually let his brothers knock it down as he stood in happy anticipation for the “crash” to come and then he would jump up and down in delight with the best laughter.
MeeMaw would sit on the floor with them and restack the cups for them to knock them down over and over. She would help them stack them back up and help them take turns.
Cups. So simple but the joy was unmistakable. At the time I had no idea the significance of this game that she played with them. Looking back I realize that this was teaching Taylor so much more than how to stack cups.
Most children play in what is called “side by side” play. Playing happily along side other children also playing but not necessarily engaging with them.
In this stacking cup game, Taylor was playing WITH his brothers, not beside them. In addition to this teaching my boys gross motor skills it was teaching my autistic son how to engage with peers. He was learning how to take turns, learning team work as they stacked the cups together and enjoying their joy as they got to “crash the tower”.
These days there are so many more toys that can help children on the spectrum not only learn those gross motor skills, but also find toys that bring them comfort, teach them skills they may otherwise struggle with, including reading.
Below are just a few of my boys favorite toys. Some of these are the same toys Taylor loved 20 years ago but I feel are just as great today. There are also some pretty amazing new toys out there. Over the years, toy manufacturers have listened to us parents when it comes to the sensory sensitivity of our children and as a result have created some pretty great things.
Stacking cups are so great for developing gross motor skills. Our family had many, many hours of fun with stacking cups. I love how something so simple can bring your kids so much joy and entertainment.
SWINGING AND SPINNING. If your child loves to spin, swing or both at the same time, then these hammock, swing chairs are exactly what you have been looking for!Swinging and spinning are different ways of stimming for people with autism, but who are we kidding? Everyone loves to swing!
Tablets can be pretty essential aids for children on the spectrum. In so many ways, I wish this had been around when Taylor was younger. I think these tablets would have been much easier for him to use when he was learning to talk. One reason being because of how flexible and portable they are … Continue reading 5 Best Tablets for Kids with Autism
Children with Autism or Auditory Processing Disorder often have a hard time with noise. Sometimes it is just too much going on at once and it creating a sensory overload for them. Noise reducing headphones or earmuffs can come in very handy in loud spaces.