Tactile sensory issues are commonly found in autistic kids. (see our post Sensory Issues to Keep in Mind when purchasing Autism Toys to read more about sensory issues).

Toys that incorporate a lot of tactile feedback and provide a focus for autistic kids’ fidgeting can be a good option when tactile sensitivity is at play.

Tangle Creations makes a variety of sensory fidget toys for special needs children. The ones I’ll be looking at here are those in the Tangle Therapy line. These toys fit in your hand, and you move them around almost like prayer beads.

They’re very cheap at less than $10 a pop, but how do they stack up and what do parents think of them?

Tangle Therapy Sensory Fidget Toys In Action

Tangle Therapy lines are geared towards anybody who might [Continue Reading...]

Making and listening to music can benefit autistic children in many ways (see our article Benefits of Music For Children With Autism to learn why). Because of this, music toys are a good choice for autistic kids.

One popular music making toy is Neurosmith’s Music Blocks. This innovative toy lets kids to create music by moving a bunch of blocks around. Each side of a block is associated with different musical sounds and by combining different sounds in different timings your child can create cool tunes!

Neurosmith Music Blocks

Music Blocks: Available from many sellers including Amazon

Another great thing about this toy is that [Continue Reading...]

This list comes from Ellen Notbohm’s book Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew.

It’s simple, yet so important to remember so I thought I would reproduce it here.

  1. I am first and foremost a child. I have autism. I am not primarily “autistic.”
  2. My sensory perceptions are disordered
  3. Remember to distinguish between won’t (I choose not to) and can’t (I’m not able to)
  4. I am a concrete thinker, which means that I interpret language very literally
  5. Be patient with my limited vocabulary
  6. I’m very visually oriented because language is very difficult for me
  7. Focus and build on what I can do rather than what I can’t do
  8. Help me with social interactions
  9. Try to identify what triggers my meltdowns
  10. Love me unconditionally
  11. Patience, Patience, Patience (ok, there are 11 things, not ten!)

Girls face many challenges through their childhood and teenage years, including understanding social groups, bullying, puberty, and relationships. Add all this plus the challenges of autism and you can see that autistic girls have it cut out for them!

Luckily, autistic girls and their parents don’t have to feel like they’re facing these challenges alone. Two books  written by female autism experts and parents help shed [Continue Reading...]

Girls already face many challenges through their childhood and teenage years, including understanding social groups, bullying, puberty, and relationships. Aspie girls  face even greater challenges.

Luckily Aspie girls and their parents don’t have to feel like they’re facing these challenges alone. There are two award-winning books  written by Asperger’s experts and Aspies that shed light on how they faced challenges and in many cases overcame them to become professionally and personally satisfied.

1. Asperger’s and Girls

Accolades

Asperger’s and Girls is written by a who’s who of asperger experts and celebrities [Continue Reading...]

As discussed in one of our previous articles, autistic girls think differently from autistic boys. Autistic girls therefore like different types of toys and play activities.

This post summarizes the types of toys you should look for when shopping for the autistic girl in your life. To learn more about the special needs and talents of autistic girls please read our post on Great Books for Parents of Autistic Girls.

Types of Toys Appropriate For Autistic Girls

Although many toys appropriate for autistic boys would work for girls as well, autism experts suggest that the following types of toys and entertainment are good choices for girls:

  • Toys that promote imaginative pretend-play activities, especially if such activities can be played with others
  • Toys that incorporate music and dancing
  • Books!–fantasy books, books aimed at young girls such as the Babysitters series, etc.
  • Art toys, such as
  • Music composition toys, such as

The following sections give specific examples [Continue Reading...]

Board games can be a great way to teach socializing and other skills to autistic children, but not all board games out there are equally good. Below I summarize some of the main benefits board games can provide as well as things you should be aware of when selecting a game for your autistic child.

Benefits

Playing board games can provide many benefits including:

  • Board games that focus on symbols rather than words can be effective for improving communication skills
  • Board games can teach children how to take turns
  • Provide a structured format for socializing
  • Provide a safe way to learn how to handle frustration and emotions
  • Teach math skills
  • Teach planning and problem solving
  • Improve memorization
  • Improve hand-eye coordination
  • Teach them how to follow directions (and related to this, teach parents how to give instructions) [Continue Reading...]

Almost everyone has played the classic board game Candy Land while they were kids. But how good is Candy Land as a board game for autistic children?

I summarize some of the good and bad features of Candy Land below as they relate to autistic kids. You can then more details about the experiences of autism experts and parents with Candy Land in the next sections.

Summary

Characteristics that Make it Good for Autistic Children:

  • Teaches turn-taking
  • Relies on visual recognition
  • Doesn’t rely on verbal communication
  • You can easily adjust the rules to fit your autistic child’s strengths

Avoid Candy Land for:

  • Kids with attention difficulties
  • Children who get frustrated easily, since it depends on luck rather than logic
  • Low functioning autistics and others who might choke on game pieces

Best for…

  • Most autistic children, except maybe low-functioning autistics

You can buy Candy Land from Amazon.

Gameplay

Before we talk more about whether Candy Land is [Continue Reading...]

Today is World Autism Day, and there has been a lot of news floating around the internet about autism since the CDC released its latest report about autism rates being on the rise in the U.S. Most people have already heard the stats by now, but if you haven’t here they are:

  • 1 in 88 children in the United States has an autism spectrum disorder, compared to the previous value of 1 in 110
  • Autism is five times more common in boys than in girls, with 1 in 54 boys having autism
  • from the 14 communities where data was collected, CDC found a wide range in children in autism between places from 1 in 210 children in Alabama to 1 in 47 children in Utah [Continue Reading...]

Autistic children often experience sensory issues that you should keep in mind when buying toys or games for them.  For example, an autistic child might avoid loud or colorful toys if he is hypersensitive to sounds and colors. Or conversely he might crave these toys if he is hyposensitive to sounds and sights.

Research studies find that between 30 to 100% of autistic children have some type of sensory issue and that sensory issues seem more common during childhood than in adulthood.

In this post I’ll talk about some common sensory issues experienced by autistic children from the scientific literature as well as anecdotal evidence from parents and caretakers of children with autism. I also talk about symptoms associated with each issue.

1. Visual Sensory Issues

Researchers have found that rods and cones in the eyes of autistic children are different from non-autistics in part due to chemical imbalances or neural deficiencies. Of the autistic children tested by some studies, 85% saw colors with greater intensity than neuro-typical children. To these autistic children, red appears nearly fluorescent and vibrates intensely. A small proportion (10%) saw color as non-autistic children do, and 5% saw muted colors. Studies also find that visual spatial skills are generally very advanced in autistic children. Researchers also find that autistic children often experience “Gestalt perception,” or an inability to filter foreground and background information. This causes everything they see to be viewed in its entirety instead of as a combination of different things. It makes it hard for them to recognize things if one minor detail is changed. Visual sensory issues can also cause autistic children to have difficulty following environmental cues. many can’t distinguish normal visual cues such as exit or restroom signage.

Key Things To Keep In Mind For Hyposensitive Children (not enough visual stimulation):

  • Children who are hypo-sensitive to color tend to see color in muted tones. They will seek out primary and other vibrant colors because they perceive things as grey.
Key Things To Keep In Mind For Hypersensitive Children:
  • They may withdraw from areas or things with vivid colors and visual patterns
  • Primary colors can be distracting, so you might want to remove bright toys from learning areas
  • Some children may become obsessed with complex environments, such as memorizing all the shapes and lines in an environment. This means that shutters and drapery can be over-stimulating. Painting window frames with a muted color that is the same as the shade can help prevent overstimulation. [Continue Reading...]
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