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Multi-Sensory Learning Activities for Children with Autism

Multi-Sensory Learning Activities for Children with Autism

Raising a child with autism involves constantly adding new strategies to your parenting plan to help stimulate their development. The good news is that you are living in a time when research is constantly revealing new insights into how children with autism process sensory information in their environment. Since many children with autism struggle with understanding things such as oral language concepts that require the integration of multiple sensory signals, it is now recommended for parents and teachers to include multi-sensory learning activities in their daily plans. As you check out these ideas, keep in mind that each child is different. Experiment with a few until you find what works best for your child’s needs.


Use Physical Movement to Reinforce New Concepts

Kinesthetic learning strategies are a huge way to help your child remember new concepts since they engage the brain differently than simply listening to new information. As you incorporate physical movements into your lessons, make sure that they are meaningful so that the concept sticks. For example, you can have your child clap the syllables of a new word, or they can use their bodies to make letter shapes.


Add Picture Cues to Verbal Instructions

Engaging both auditory and visual senses helps children with autism strengthen their ability to match someone’s facial movements to the message that they are trying to convey with speech. This strategy also reduces the frustration that some children with autism feel when they are expected to understand complex instructions that require sensory regulation. Try holding up pictures for each step of a procedure such as getting dressed or getting ready for school.


Tap into The Power of Deep Pressure

For a child with autism, sensory signals can feel as though they are coming from everywhere, and it is the sense of being bombarded that leads to meltdowns. Deep pressure provides proprioceptive input that helps your child feel calmer and better able to regulate their responses to outside stimuli. Try using a foam roller to apply pressure to your child’s legs when they need to sit still or give them compression socks or a shirt to help them stay calm during outings so that they can observe social behaviors.


Discover the Wonders of Sensory Bins

Sensory bins are a favorite activity among families with children who have autism because you can provide a multi-sensory experience in a portable box. Start by filling a bin with materials that your child can move such as water, colored rice or pebbles. Then, add objects that invite them to touch and play with each one. As your child feels the coolness of the water or hears the sound of the pebbles clicking together, they activate portions of their brain that stimulate further learning.


Multi-sensory learning activities are designed to help your child develop greater self-control when faced with situations that engage all of their senses. They also help to strengthen and build new neural pathways that reinforce new concepts. Now that you have these strategies in your tool kit, go ahead and have some fun as you help your child engage with the world in new ways.


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