Tips for finding a toy that will be fun and useful for a child with autism.
Choosing the perfect present for a child, no matter what age, gender or interests, can be extremely difficult. When you walk into a toy store, it is easy to become overwhelmed with the aisles upon aisles of toys that are staring back to you―some electronic, some bright pink, some themed with popular television characters, and others that are classic toys from years gone by. However, when you add something like autism to the mix, finding the perfect gift become immensely more difficult.
Children with autism have a certain number of needs and requirements when it comes to ideal toys and gifts that you may not experience with another child. For instance, a toy that stimulates the senses in a way that reinforces their sense of touch and hones other senses such as sight or hearing. However, you still want to make sure that your toy will be fun and entertaining at the same time for maximum enjoyment.
As with most children, kids with autism are most likely to gravitate towards toys and activities that are based on entertainment and reinforce their positive actions. Therefore, those are the types of toys that you should seek out. To help you get started, here are two ideal gifts that you should look for when choosing a toy for a child with autism:
Toys That Involve Friends and Family
Any toy or activity that involves the whole family and some good old fashioned quality time is a great choice for children with autism. This is because these types of activities or games can help monitor the time and patience that may be needed for the child to complete the activity, and your family can guide them along the way during difficult parts. Some great examples of fun family activities include painting, arts and crafts, or even baking. Just make sure that you are having fun and allowing freedom for all participants.
Toys That Provide Positive Reinforcement
Positive reinforcement toys are ideal for children with autism because it allows them to make a direct connection between their actions and movements, and the positive reinforcement that they receive. However, the reward must be given immediately in order to have the desired effect.
A true positive reinforcement system includes tasks and lessons that have been broken down into simple steps, allowing the child to experience small incremental successes while working toward a larger goal. Laser Pegs are a great example of a positive reinforcement toy as the immediate light-up effect of Laser Pegs allows a child to make an instant connection between their behavior of connecting the toys and the positive reaction of the play structure lighting up.
For more information about how Laser Pegs make a great toy for children who have autism, be sure to check out our past blog on the many benefits of positive reinforcement toys for children with autism. Also be sure to let us know of any other helpful gift ideas you may have in the comments below!