Top 7 Therapeutic Activities for Children with Autism


From reducing problem behaviors, and building relationships and social skills, to improving mental and physical health, and developing personal interests, therapeutic activities offer many benefits for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Whether your child is an infant, toddler, or pre-teen, you may have seen how they love play experiences that involve arranging, building, creating, or solving things. Play dough, building blocks, puzzles, picture drawing, no matter what the activity, completing it gives them a certain unique satisfaction and enjoyment.


Remember, using their senses during play is a major contributor to your child’s skill development. Which means, multisensory toys or activities tend to open up more pathways for their brain development. The Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy experts at AB Spectrum offer some insights on therapeutic activities that will boost the short term and long-term wellbeing of your child with Autism.

  1. Year-Round Excitement with Pool Noodles: A cheap and versatile toy, you can use pool noodles in a number of different ways. Cut them up into light sabers, arrange them as obstacle courses, use them to stack and build blocks or as pathways for water play, label smaller pieces with numbers or alphabets, and more.

  2. Sensory Bins: Load up a sensory bin full of fun items, such as straws, feathers, pieces of tissue paper, buttons and beads, colorful aquarium gravel, moon dough, pom-poms, foam pieces, ribbons, and other such stuff. Engaging the tactile system will help your child remain calm and organized, while also improving their finger dexterity and visual-motor skills.

  3. Safe Sensory Time-Out Space: Creating a dedicated sensory room may not be possible in homes where space is a constraint. However, you can always create a nook or spot that becomes the child’s safe sensory haven. A makeshift tepee, swing, hula hoop, window bench, whatever helps your child feel safe and relaxed. You can even arrange for music in this space if your child finds it calming.

  4. Paper-Pencil Tasks: While there are hundreds of electronic and mobile-based games and apps that offer visual stimulation, paper-pencil tasks are great for improving hand coordination and visual perceptual skills. Maze books, eye spy puzzles, word searches are excellent options for this purpose.

  5. Visual Schedules: Creating visual schedules can go a long way in improving your child’s self-care tasks, function, and independence. Since many children with ASD are visual learners, creating a schedule of activities with step by step pictures will help your child to learn exactly what to expect or what comes next.

  6. Obstacles Courses: Pretend play, such as walking like different animals is a fun way to improve your child’s motor skills. For example, get your child to gallop like a horse, jump like a frog, crawl like a puppy, slither like a snake, hop like a bunny, and such. Create added difficulty levels by introducing hula hoops, jump ropes, taped lines, or other safe obstacles for challenging their coordination and balance.

  7. Sensory or Calm-Down Bottles: Adding small, fun items to bottles can make for an interesting visual appeal. For example, hair gel mixed with a bit of water and glitter creates a beautiful slow motion effect as the child turns the bottle. Similarly, a paperclips-and-magnet jar can visually engage the child for hours on end. You will find several clever ideas for sensory bottles on sites, such as Pinterest.

At Autism and Behavior Spectrum (AB Spectrum), we offer customized ABA therapy and comprehensive Autism treatments to families in and around St. Louis Missouri. This includes in-home ABA sessions, as well as clinic-based therapy at our locations in Chesterfield and St. Charles, Missouri. Our tailor-made programs and interventions incorporate the Reggio Emilia ABA pedagogy based on Natural Environment Teaching (NET) methods. Our goal is to help children with ASD learn and grow in an environment that encourages their individuality and embraces their skills.

Our experienced and trained ABA professionals focus on improving the child’s quality of life by:

  • Developing self-help skills, school readiness skills, and essential life skills

  • Improving emotional maturity, cognitive abilities, motor skills and social skills

  • Reducing problematic behaviors, enhancing self-confidence, and promoting independence.

Whether you suspect your child is showing signs of Autism, or have already received an ASD diagnosis, the ABA therapy specialists at AB Spectrum can help. Call us at 314.648.2687 or book a no-fee consultation today.


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