Factors to Consider when Creating Leisure Activities for Autistic Persons

Factors to Consider when Creating Leisure Activities for Autistic Persons

Leisure activities are a fun and creative way for people to interact and relax.

Participating in leisure activities relieves one of stress and increases one's happiness and well-being.

People with autism have different ways of obtaining skills and carrying out activities.

Whereas the average person can learn how to carry out a leisure activity through imitation or observation, taking lessons, and reading instructions.

For autistic persons, the reverse is the case, this is because they usually develop their own interests, and learning or imitation may not come very easy to them.

Leisure activities are particularly important for autistic persons.

It is an opportunity for them to learn relevant life and social skills and increase motivation.

Depending on where they are on the spectrum, creating leisure activities for autistic persons can be quite challenging.

To create leisure activities for autistic persons, one must consider where the person falls on the spectrum, and what would be most comfortable for the autistic person depending on their age and ability level.

The comfort of autistic persons should be foremost in creating leisure activities.

This would make it easy for them to embrace the activity and it would pose a lesser challenge for them to participate in it.

Simple and clearly structured activities are desirable for autistic persons because they are easy to follow and they have clear rules.

Physical activities especially in a team help to build confidence and improve the motor and general skills of autistic persons.

Computer games that give a reaction following an input too are leisure activities that are fit for autistic persons.

Graphic activities are preferred leisure activities for autistic persons.

An activity that has clear representations through visual, audio, or video tools makes it easy for autistic persons to enjoy.

Here are factors to consider when creating leisure activities for autistic persons.

Autism Therapists in Colorado

Marie Whatley LPCC

Marie Whatley LPCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Jessica Gutierrez-Gaytan, SWC

Jessica Gutierrez-Gaytan, SWC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Susan Taylor, LPCC

Susan Taylor, LPCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Kristen Yamaoka-Los, LPC

Kristen Yamaoka-Los, LPC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 481-3518
Naomi Kettner, LPC, NCC

Naomi Kettner, LPC, NCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 452-4374
Arias Gonzales, MS, LPC, NCC

Arias Gonzales, MS, LPC, NCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Melissa Johnston, LPC

Melissa Johnston, LPC

Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Heather Comensky, LPC

Heather Comensky, LPC

Aurora, Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Meghan Purcell, LPCC

Meghan Purcell, LPCC

Pueblo, Colorado
(719) 696-3439
Sarah Lawler, LPC

Sarah Lawler, LPC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 203-7021

Simplicity 

An activity that is easy to understand would increase participation from autistic persons.

Having simple and clear rules on how to carry out the activity would make the activity appear less daunting.

Leisure activities that involve autistic persons should not have too many or too complex instructions.

Where the activity has well-defined rules, a clear structure, and is mostly repetitive/predictable, it makes it easy for autistic people who might find other types of leisure activities, to engage in it.

A leisure activity that is complex may prove challenging and frustrating.

A simple and easy-to-understand leisure activity on the other hand is perfect for persons with autism.

Building blocks are popular leisure activities for autistic individuals because they are simple, limited in size and shape, and require repetitive movements.

Breaking activities into smaller parts would also increase the mastery rate of autistic persons.

This would increase their confidence and encourage autistic people to participate with their friends or colleagues.

Creating simple leisure activities for autistic persons enables them to enjoy the activities and relax while doing them.

Tailored to Sensory Sensitivities 

A number of autistic persons experience a high level of sensory sensitivity.

A leisure activity that is sensory and reactive is great for autistic persons because it reinforces sensory feedback.

For instance, tools that produce sounds, lights, movement, and music can be mentally stimulating leisure activities for autistic persons.

Reactive activities that create a different output for action make it easy for autistic persons to follow.

Computer games and electronic games are types of reactive activities that provide sensory feedback and regulation for autistic persons.

Studies have shown that autistic people particularly enjoy computer games while building careers at it in the future.

These types of activities help in developing basic life skills such as; cognitive skills, communication skills, problem, and solving skills.

You must, however, limit access to the games and time spent playing games.

Comfort 

In creating leisure activities for autistic persons, activities that increase comfort should be of top priority.

To ensure the comfort of an autistic person while choosing a leisure activity, the age or ability level, and motor skills of the person must be considered.

You should also consider your child's preferences while choosing leisure activities for them.

An autistic person who enjoys simplicity and order would enjoy matching games.

Their interest in sports, history, animals, and cartoons would also help in creating leisure activities for autistic persons.

This would ensure they are in control and achieve mastery over the activity.

When you are trying to find out which activity the autistic person finds comfortable, try as much as possible to avoid over-stimulating activities or activities that demand complex interaction.

Too much variety of activities might prove particularly challenging for people with autism.

Level of Physical Activity 

Regardless of the age of a person, physical activities are needed.

They not only help to reduce stress but are important for optimum health.

Where the motor skills of the autistic person are not a challenge, physical activities are encouraged.

Rhythmic activities such as dance, tennis, swimming, and singing are good choices because they are easy to learn and repetitive.

Physical activities are beneficial not only as leisure activities for autistic persons, but also as boosting confidence and improving concentration, adaptability, and memory.

For autistic persons who find social interaction stressful, individual sports activities such as hiking, cycling, track, golf, and skiing are encouraged.

Regular exercise both at home amongst friends and family is also advised.

Sports offer a way through which autistic persons can improve their motor skills, and learn how to follow rules, teamwork, and structure.

Participation in sports also has tremendous health benefits and is important in growth and development.

Taking breaks during these activities is advised to reduce stress and fatigue.

Consider Video/Spatial/Auditory Activities 

Autistic persons experience difficulties in comprehension and are much better at identifying things or words.

A leisure activity that has a vivid visual representation of what it entails makes it easy for autistic persons to participate.

Depending on the communication style of each person, written illustrations, colors, pictorial illustrations, and videos can be used to teach autistic persons about the activity or other subjects.

Activities such as board games, maps, cards, puzzles, toys, and reading offer a great way to engage autistic persons.

Fitting objects and repetitive handling of objects increase attention span and can be motivating.

These activities also enhance communication skills.

Conclusion

An assessment of the preferences through interviews with parents and caregivers would make creating leisure activities for autistic persons easy.

Leisure activities that are simple, reactive, physical, and comfortable with clearly illustrated guides are more suitable for people with autism to enjoy.

Resources 

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May 25th, 2024

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