5 Nature Inspired Activities for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder have a set of challenges unique to them. They might be self involved and fail to notice or understand the wonders of the nature or environment that surrounds us.  The following activities would help them explore the natural world and have some fun outdoors while gaining some valuable skills: 1.	Cloud Gazing Take the child outdoors and engage in some sky gazing. While sky gazing encourage the child to look at and talk about the clouds and the shapes they see in them. It is a great activity to facilitate speech therapy in children with ASD. Once the child starts looking at the clouds, nudge them to describe the clouds and the feelings they invoke. 2.	Gardening Help the child start their own garden. Gardening as an activity involves myriad sensory activities like digging, touching dirt, getting messy, planting saplings, watering them etc. Encourage the child to use gardening tools for weeding, watering and harvesting. These activities would not only offer a great range of sensory experiences but also help them with their motor skills. 3.	Make Your Own Bird Feeder This is a great activity that gives you long term enjoyment and engagement. The children would not only enjoy creating the cookie cutter bird feeder but experience various tactile sensations, experience varying temperatures and follow processes to attain a desirable end. After you have hung up the bird feeder up, take some time out every day with the child to sit and enjoy watching the birds eat their snack. 4.	Nature Inspired Scavenger Hunt Create a list of objects that can be easily found in the park, lawn or your own garden and give it to the child. Encourage the child to go out and collect the objects on the list and create a collection. Objects like leaves, grass, twigs, pebbles, and flowers offer a variety of tactile sensory experiences and even smell different. In case the child cannot read yet, prepare a picture list or flash cards for them to enjoy this fun scavenger hunt. 5.	Sorting Through Sorting activities are great and instrumental in occupational therapy for children with ASD. This activity can be easily taken out of doors where you can gather different leaves, sticks, rocks, flowers and more to create a pool of objects readily available in nature. The children can also get the objects from scavenger hunt and then sort them into various categories. Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder have a set of challenges unique to them. They might be self involved and fail to notice or understand the wonders of the nature or environment that surrounds us.

The following activities would help them explore the natural world and have some fun outdoors while gaining some valuable skills:

  1. Cloud Gazing

Take the child outdoors and engage in some sky gazing. While sky gazing encourage the child to look at and talk about the clouds and the shapes they see in them. It is a great activity to facilitate speech therapy in children with ASD. Once the child starts looking at the clouds, nudge them to describe the clouds and the feelings they invoke.

  1. Gardening

Help the child start their own garden. Gardening as an activity involves myriad sensory activities like digging, touching dirt, getting messy, planting saplings, watering them etc. Encourage the child to use gardening tools for weeding, watering and harvesting. These activities would not only offer a great range of sensory experiences but also help them with their motor skills.

  1. Make Your Own Bird Feeder

This is a great activity that gives you long term enjoyment and engagement. The children would not only enjoy creating the cookie cutter bird feeder but experience various tactile sensations, experience varying temperatures and follow processes to attain a desirable end. After you have hung up the bird feeder up, take some time out every day with the child to sit and enjoy watching the birds eat their snack.

  1. Nature Inspired Scavenger Hunt

Create a list of objects that can be easily found in the park, lawn or your own garden and give it to the child. Encourage the child to go out and collect the objects on the list and create a collection. Objects like leaves, grass, twigs, pebbles, and flowers offer a variety of tactile sensory experiences and even smell different. In case the child cannot read yet, prepare a picture list or flash cards for them to enjoy this fun scavenger hunt.

  1. Sorting Through

Sorting activities are great and instrumental in occupational therapy for children with ASD. This activity can be easily taken out of doors where you can gather different leaves, sticks, rocks, flowers and more to create a pool of objects readily available in nature. The children can also get the objects from scavenger hunt and then sort them into various categories.

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Proposed Treatments for Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorder DelhiAutism Spectrum Disorder does not have a standard treatment or a fixed treatment plan. There, however are a number of guidelines or ways in which the symptoms can be minimized and the abilities and capabilities can be maximised. The most effective therapy or intervention differs from person to person. But highly structured and specialised programs have the best response for people suffering from Autism Spectrum Disorder. There have been cases where apt treatment has helped people with autism attain a near normal level of functioning.

Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder may often be mistaken for those of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD. Hence, it is important to focus on the symptoms and not on labels. By focusing on symptoms and working on minimizing them, there is a better chance of addressing the child’s special needs.

There are numerous therapies on offer for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Some are listed hereunder:

  • Behavioral Management Therapy – through this therapy there is an effort to reduce the unwanted behavioural traits and emphasize on the desirable behavioural traits.
  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy – this therapy emphasizes to help develop a connection between feelings & behaviour.
  • Early Intervention – it has been observed that through an early intervention at pre-school age or before, the results are more positive.
  • Joint Attention Therapy – the focus of this therapy is on improving specific skills related to joint attention like pointing, showing, and coordinating looks between a person and an object.
  • Medication Treatment – though there is no medication to treat Autism Spectrum Disorder, but some medicines are known to help treat some of the symptoms. Medication used with behavioural therapy is known to bring in quite a change.
  • Nutritional Therapy – the children with ASD might be picky about what they eat or resist eating altogether. It is important to collaborate with a good dietician to ensure nourishment and good health.
  • Occupational Therapy – this helps the children with ASD to complete their everyday tasks by making the most of their abilities, needs, and interests.
  • Parent-mediated Therapy – parents of the children with ASD learns therapy techniques from the professionals and provides these specific therapies to their children.
  • Physical Therapy – this includes activities and therapy that focuses on building motor skills & strength and improve posture & balance.
  • Social Skills Training – this is a training to help children with ASD interact socially with peer especially.
  • Speech-language Therapy – this therapy focuses on helping the children with ASD improve their ability to communicate.

It is important to discuss all possible treatments and therapy with your doctor and come up with a personalised plan best suited to cater to the needs of your child with a focus on addressing the symptoms of the Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Top Things You Should Know about Autism and Special Education

sparsh for childrenAutism, also known as, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), denotes to a variety of conditions categorized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and non-verbal communication as well as by distinctive strengths & differences.

The following are the top things that you should know about autism and the special education required to handle it –

Difficulty in Social Interaction

Most children with autism do very less social interactions. Besides the recognized symptoms such as dearth of language skills, failing to make eye contact, and lack of reaction to their name, there are numbers of symptoms that may point toward having ASD as a child gets elder –

  • The lack of ability to make friends
  • Lack of normal conversational skills
  • Repeating phrases or things from memory rather than coming up with original speeches

Teachers with advanced degrees focused on autism can help such children to overcome their social interaction problem.

Children with Autism are typically the Visual Learners

These children are habitually the visual learners, using robust visual tools and actions can help to get through to these children. For example, a visual schedule helps them to know what to expect from their day.

Children with Autism Can Easily be Over Stimulated

One more mutual attribute with kids having autism is that they can easily be overwhelmed by sensory stimuli that they cannot process in comparison to other children. The best way to cope with this is to keep track of causes and adapt strategies that reduce incidents.

Early Diagnose Benefits the Treatment

It is extremely important to lookout for signs of autism in children at early stage. Once a child is diagnosed, the quicker they start getting speech therapy, social training, and medications (if needed), the more effective their treatment will be.

Teens with autism frequently come across depression or behavioral complications as they go through puberty, so giving close care to the autistic children for signs that their treatment might need to be attuned, help get them through this challenging time.

Autism Does Not Mean That a Child Cannot Do Great Things

Scientists now have confidence that some of the ultimate minds like Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, and Mozart may have had a type of autism in their childhood.

Care about your children, give them the best possible chance to live an exceptional life. And, the best way to do this is to know as much as possible about common conditions such as autism and other special needs.

Originated in 2005, Sparsh has grown into a multi-disciplinary organization that caters to diverse requirements of Children with Autism, Dyslexia, and Attention Difficulties & Intellectual Disability. It is one of a very small number of centers in Delhi NCR that provide all services ranging from Special Education, Occupational Therapy, Play School, Study Groups, Psychological Counselling and Speech & Language Therapy together under one roof.