For a parent, it can seem overwhelming when a child is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). There are a myriad of conditions that affect children in so many different ways — some children have trouble with communication and concentration while others struggle with repetitive behavior and can be extremely sensitive to touch, certain sounds, or smells.
Studies have shown that board games can be beneficial for children with ASD as they help develop skills they would otherwise find hard to master. Below is a list of seven of the best board games and how they can greatly benefit kids with autism.
CandylandThis is one of the most popular board games with millions of customers every year. It is a relatively straightforward game where players are required to pick a card from the deck to progress. There are no choices involved, but the game can have roadblocks with players losing their turn or being sent back to the start. This game teaches kids to manage disappointment and how to handle it in front of others.
Another old favorite, Battleship is a strategy game where you try to sink your opponent’s fleet of ships before they sink yours. This game teaches logical thinking and reasoning and introduces them to grids and coordinates. A child with ASD will find the strategizing and planning beneficial.
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Chess is a strategy game where players use pieces to try and eliminate the opponent’s pieces. It is one of the most popular games in the world with it being played at a professional level and on the Sunday brunch. Kids with learning disabilities can also benefit from this match. In a study, it was found that children who were given chess lessons along with math tuitions scored higher than children who were just given math tuition.
Mastermind is a code breaking game played by two people, the code maker, the code breaker. It involves thinking and rational reasoning. Studies conclude that college students who played the game showed an in improvement in critical thinking and made fewer logic errors.
Animal On Animal
This is another game involving rolling the dice. Players must try and stack animals one over the other. Each roll of the dice decides how many animals they can attempt to stack. It is said to improve hand-eye coordination and motor-coordination skills. It is also a real test of patience and will help with social interaction.
Another classic, the objective of the game is to move your marbles from one corner of the board to the other before the other players. It can be played with 2, 4, or 6 people. Chinese Checkers is a simple game but does involve strategy and is useful for kids with ASD. They will benefit from the thinking involved and pick up new moves every time they play.
ScrabbleScrabble is everyone’s favorite word game. Players are given a random selection of letters, and they must make as many words as they can with them. It teaches spelling and can also help with social interactions.
Other benefits of board games include language development, improved basic math skills, following directions, and controlling emotions.
Even in these computer dominated times, board games make sense for children with ASD. If your child has special needs, board games will help him develop skills faster than any computer-based game. What are you waiting for? Get those old board games out and introduce your kids to hours of fun and learning.
This article was featured in Issue 55 – Celebrating with the People We Love