For children with autiism spectrum disorder, expressing themselves can come as a challenge: when you find comfort in repetition, suddenly being asked to break away from that to create something original can be frustrating. Many parents of children with autism can find this as distressing as the kids do and would love to have the toys and learning tools to hand to help nurture their child’s creativity rather than upset them. With that in mind, here are a few toys and tools you can use to help your child with autism be creative without even realizing it.
Our store, Tesco, sells Multicolored Lego bricks which have been used in studies of creative development in children with autism by the University of Rochester, where it was discovered that these children were more responsive to creative learning when using the colorful bricks. At the beginning of the study, the children reused their bricks in the same way each time, but as time progressed they began to create original structures using different colors and shapes. Not only does playing with Lego help children learn to be more creative, the study showed it could also help them with dealing with unexpected social situations in later life.
Crayola Dry-Erase Activity Set
This dry-erase tablet is fantastic for encouraging creativity in children on the spectrum– you can lift the transparent dry-erase part of the board and place drawings or language worksheets underneath to allow for tracing. For methodical children, giving them a set pattern to follow but allowing them to introduce different colors can be a fantastic gate to creativity.
Cake Decorator Set
Available from a number of brands, these playsets encourage children to explore different patterns. The cake is covered in touch-fastener “icing” which will automatically stick to anything placed on it, making it ideal for children who have difficulty with hand-eye coordination. These toys are also brilliant for encouraging social play, as your child can distribute pieces of the cake to playmates, wish them a happy birthday or take cake “orders”.
If your little one becomes quickly frustrated with creative activities, these simple toys can be a huge help in encouraging them to explore their inner artist without forcing them to be completely original.