“He has no play skills.” “All he does is line up toys.”
So what? There is no wrong way to play! Autistic play, stimming, and restricted interests may seem unusual to some of us at first…but you can definitely play with autistic children (and adults)!
How do you play with an autistic child?
- Join them where they are. Don’t try so hard to pull them into your world…instead, join them in theirs.
- Do what they are doing nearby. If they are lining up socks….line up socks nearby. Do it just like they are doing and see what happens.
- Try some sensory toys!
- Watch their siblings…and do what they do. This is one of the best ways to observe and figure things out. Siblings have natural instincts for this!
Here are some of our favorite sensory toys! (I am in no way affiliated with these products…we just have a lot of fun with them)
Sit and Spin
Fidget Spinners: we like these because they are BIG.
Tether Ball: this is something you’d have to install…but it’s a lot of fun once you do!
Hoover Soccer Ball
Nest: this is something you’d have to install…but it’s a lot of fun once you do!
Busy Boards: you can look on etsy or create one if you are crafty. This one was made by my husband and mounted to our son’s wall.
Pinwheels: this one lights up!
Whether you are a parent, a therapist, a friend, or a teacher…join children where they are. Play the way they are playing and see what happens. You might be surprised by the language opportunities and connections that emerge. Instead of pulling autistic people into our world, we can see if they’ll invite us into theirs.