11 Activities to Consider Trying with Your Child
By Leslie Burby
If one of these activities sparks your interest and there isn’t one in your town consider grouping together with some parents and starting your own organization, team, or program. I can’t possibly list every organization or group in the world but if you think your child may benefit then please do a search for your area and if one of these things interests you consider turning your passion into a hobby by creating your own group.
1. Baseball – The Miracle League has a wonderful program where they pair children with special needs with a Neuro-typical peer. Honestly, I think this helps both children. http://miracleleaguect.org
2. Soccer – TOPSOCCER is a league where high school volunteers are paired with children with a disability to learn soccer skills and play games once a week. http://westhartfordtopsoccer.com/whatistopsoccer.html
3. Bowling – in a neighboring town they have special needs bowling at a bowling alley every other Sunday during the winter months for children with special needs as well as their siblings. I think this might be an easy activity to organize with your local bowling alley if you can team up with some other families from a Facebook autism group or a local special needs organization.
4. Art Clubs – many craft stores offer art classes and usually the facilitators encourage parents to stay to help their child. I find this difficult since I have three children and have yet to find a way to be in three places at once. So I hold a craft day at my house once a month for children and their siblings. Also, please read the article Art: Not Words to learn about the wonderful program that two moms started.
5. Zumba Class – or other dance class. In my town they offer a Zumba class for children on the spectrum and their siblings once a week for $10 per class. I have heard wonderful things about it. http://iannetwork.com [On a side note, in the summer I sign my children up for dance in another town through the Park and Rec department. This town has class three times a week all summer
long and a small recital at the end of the summer. I always attend the class in case my children get overwhelmed or need extra assistance but have been fortunate that the dance teachers have been understanding and helpful.]
6. Sensory Friendly Movies – there are many theatres that now offer movies with the theatres lights on and allow the children to walk around during the movie and keep the movie’s volume low to help alleviate sensory issues. For more information check out https://www.amctheatres.com/programs/sensory-friendly-films or call your local theatre and see if they would be willing to do a
showing. Most places want you to get signatures at first to prove that people will actually come so be prepared ask your friends and post on social media and call your local newspaper to help promote the showing.
7. Swimming – this can be a fun family activity but it can also be life-saving. Knowing how to swim is an important safety issue. We found a local high school that has free open swim and try to go as a family. I also found this great organization that offers two options: swim lessons or family swim check out the details here http://www.autismfamiliesct.org/programs/2012/8/4/swimming-on-the-spectrum.html.
8. Book Clubs – for the avid reader. Most libraries have book clubs that you can attend for free. I can’t think of a better setting to passionately discuss a book that you treasure and who knows they might meet other people with the same interests.
9. Fashion Show or Talent Show – either help plan one or be a part of one. I have personally heard of two fashion shows benefiting Autism Organizations (Your Special Child Development Center and Hope4Autism) in just the past month. Do a search in your area or suggest doing a fashion show or talent show to a nearby organization to raise money.
10. Lego Club – there are so many options for Lego play now it is amazing and with the Lego Movie playing in theatres the interest in Lego is at large. I personally love that they have so many girly options. To learn more about the amazing Lego Groups that were specifically designed for children with autism, check out more here http://asdaid.org.
11. Robotics Clubs – is an obvious choice for people in college but now there is an option for younger children http://www.robotics-club.com/public/?page_id=44. Also, for young girls interested in inventing and engineering there is this great new toy called Goldiblox which I am relieved is now being sold at major retailers because they frequently sell out.