Certain toys are recommended by parents, therapists and other professionals working with children who have autism. You don't have to go to a special store to buy toys because children with autism enjoy playing with many of the same toys other children do, such as clay, train sets and paint. The best toys for children with autism are those that provide sensory input. Ultimately, their parents feel that the best toys are whatever works for their children.
Mats and Gyms
Start your infant out early by getting a baby mat or baby gym. There are different versions of baby gyms and mats. Many make music and hold hanging toys that babies can reach for when they roll over. The different types of mats and play gyms focus either on one function like the music-based piano mat or several functions like the baby gym, which encourages physical skills like rolling and reaching, and sensory skills with rattles and mirrors. The "Spin and Explore Garden Gym" helps infants work on their sensory skills through stimulation. They get tummy time as they reach around for squeaky, crinkly and colourful toys on the mat.
Puzzles and Blocks
Working on puzzles with your child helps with fine motor skills, sequencing and ordering. "Lego" blocks and sets work well and can be expanded on as children grow. "The Tactile Shape Puzzle" teaches early hand-eye coordination and is specifically designed for babies. The shapes are made of soft material with fleece. All pieces are attached so they can't be lost and are too big to fit into little mouths. Babies look under a circle to find a bee and under a triangle to find a mouse. This toy helps with sensory development.
The "Rainbow Timber" stackable game is for school-aged children. This stackable block game helps with focus and attention. This game is very similar to "Jenga," except the blocks are bright and colourful. When players roll the dice, they must move the piece to its corresponding colour while trying not to tumble the tower of blocks.
Railway sets help kids learn planning and sequencing while fuelling their imaginations and creativity. Railroad tracks are recommended on a variety of websites directed towards autistic children. One such track recommended for autistic children is the Learning Curve brand's "Thomas and Friends Wooden Railway." Children learn repetition by repeatedly putting tracks together. Other Thomas and Friends wooden sets and pieces are available to go with the railway. Children can start playing with these at about age 2 and can go on to enjoy them for years.
Drawing and Painting
Drawing, colouring and painting with a child who has autism is enjoyable for the child and helps with motor skill development. The "Crayola Color Explosion Glow Board" comes with six neon markers and a reusable surface, which children can use to make colourful pictures and drawings. When the child is finished creating a picture, the glow board lights it up with a neon effect.
Video and Board Games
The "Nintendo Wii" is listed as one of the top video games for children with autism at Top Toys. It is recommended because it is simple and doesn't have a lot of buttons. Also, many of the games don't require a lot of rules. It is interactive and will keep your child engaged.
Also play board games with your child. These games assist children with autism in social interactions, helping them to adjust to group settings, such as school or day care.
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