Toys for Children on the Autism Spectrum Posted on 15 Aug 08:00
For the week of August 20th, the town of Nantucket will be helping to support Autism Week! Among the tokens of support will be blue lights all around the town, a walk in support of autism spectrum awareness, and the recognizable blue puzzle piece on display in numerous locations. All of this is to remind us to be aware of the needs of our friends and family on the autism spectrum, to support research into autism, and offer a better world for everyone on the autism spectrum.
The latest statistics show that 1 in 64 children can be defined as “on the autism spectrum.” Children on the spectrum have a wide variety of needs depending on their individual place within it, and in today's blog, we're focusing on two of the more common ways that toys can help!
Hand Manipulative Toys for Individuals with Autism
It is common for people on the autism spectrum to experience high levels of anxiety. Studies have shown that being able to manually focus on something in their hands can help calm them down. Something like a fidget toy can not only help children with autism spectrum disorder calm down, but they can also help these children focus and absorb information more effectively.
Our favorite fidget toy is the 'Brick Twist.' This small, bendable wooden toy can be folded and twisted, and is small enough to be stored in a pocket and pulled out at any time. No parts or pieces, and no wrong way to play—just manual manipulation. The Brick Twist has proven to be a very popular and helpful toy for children with autism!
Cause and Effect Toys for Individuals with Autism
Cause and effect toys provide children with action and reward. This is to say, when a child does one thing, she will provoke a specific reaction from the toy. Toys such as this are stimulating for children with autism because they allow the child a predictable way to exert influence on their environment.
Take our Marble Tree, for example: you drop a marble in at the top, and it cascades down until it lands in the lower dish. As one of our favorites, this great toy offers the opportunity to develop hand-eye coordination and express simple, repetitive actions. Likewise, the musical tone of the marble hitting the petals creates a positive auditory response. For a calming, predictable toy, you can't do much better than the Marble Tree!
More information on Autism Speaks is available at www.autismspeaks.org.