Sunday, November 6, 2011

Autistic Journey Down Sensory Lane

Often we seem to get so caught up in the everyday caring for the basic needs of autistic children that we forget they like to just have fun. There are some wonderful activities and games that serve the purpose of providing therapeutic value, improving motor skills, developing sensory stimulation and encouraging social interaction. Playing selective games with autistic children can provide all of these important benefits, and at the same time add a happy outlook toward life. Parents gain a better understanding of their child's needs through these activities. This is not a scientific observation, but a personal insight into my experiences in Ryan's world. You see, Ryan has sensory integration dysfunction. I appreciate the value of the places we sought to take him in order to seek stimulation for his sensory system and encourage the development of social skills. Children with autism can play selective games that can provide all of these important benefits and at the same time add to a happy outlook for child and parent. Ryan's condition includes weak muscles and it gets a bit tricky to stimulate, but not over stimulate his sensory system to the point of being detrimental.

To the autistic child, and probably any child, SAND AND WATER are their best friends. Of course, the place that comes to mind right now is the beach. Don't forget the sun screen, a swimsuit, an umbrella, a small shovel, a pail and toys to bury and dig up. It's amazing what can be accomplished with these natural elements. In the back yard, fill a sand box half full of sand and add water until it forms little puddles and let them play in it. Look for a playground with deep sand around each of the slides, merry-go-rounds and springy rides. It's fun to burrow in the sand and enjoy the sensation. The therapist pointed out to us that it was good for him to get in the swing and have us twist the swing and let it go. The spinning motion was a wonderful experience for him. The merry-go-round gave him more of the spinning motion which he needed. Also another benefit of the merry-go-round was the pushing and pulling of a heavy object. The slide gave his skin a good brushing as he slid down it. Of course he would have to climb back up to the top in order to go down again ,which strengthened his muscles. The bouncing and rocking motion on the springy animals gave him another beneficial reward. The benefits just go on and on and the best part was that he was having fun. Later treats were enjoyed at the picnic table.

A different source for sensory therapy is a discount dollar store. We visited there on a regular basis. It is the type of store that encourages handling, touching and choosing. Sometimes we would spend two hours there. To teach Ryan the value of money and the ability to choose, I would give him a dollar. As we shopped, he could put anything that interested him into the basket but the rule was that he could only purchase one thing with the dollar I gave him. Since everything was a dollar, the only difficult thing was to learn to make choices. He soon began to think not only of himself, but he would think of things his sister would like to have.

Fast food places with playgrounds inside are perfect places for autistic children to go and play. The first time we took Ryan, he had just begun his year of therapy and was very cautious about going up so high. He did not like for his feet to leave the ground. However, he was brave and climbed to the very top and froze and could not come down. My husband had to climb through all that maze and bring him down. We thought he would never want to go back, however, we were wrong. The next visit he climbed all the way to the top and finally slid down the tunnel to the floor. He would repeat this many times. It gave him much needed confidence and provided sensory therapy. Observing the other children in action encouraged him to participate. Another benefit was totally unexpected. Ryan did not like to be touched by others. It was very threatening to him. Soon, during all the activity with the children he began to get accustomed to being touched and soon began to be more comfortable around others. A word of caution, close supervision is a must here, because some children may play a little rough. We always took time out to eat something and enjoy the social aspect of the trip.

Please feel free to visit my blog and watch the video on autism.

Meredith is a retired small business owner and has enjoyed retirement for a few years. She recently came out of retirement to develop an on-line affiliate business to earn money for a special project to help restore old historical cemeteries that are in ruin. The Data Connection will provide the monetary funds needed for this worthy endeavor. On-line affiliate marketing fits right into her stay-at-home lifestyle. While she enjoys writing, the rest of the business will not come so easy. The article marketing concept is strongly emphasized in the approach she is taking. She believes strongly that this will result in establishing a business with a firm foundation. She invites you to visit her Blog at:

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