Group Activities for Kids with Autism

Instructor: Ravinder Sandhu
Group activities can help forge relationships among autistic children, allowing them to develop social skills more readily. Engaging a child with autism can be challenging, but in this lesson we will learn some strategies for making it easier.

Effects of Group Work

Incorporating activities into an autistic child's daily schedule is very important for the child's mental and physical development. This is largely because autism is characterized by difficulties in social, verbal and nonverbal interactions. Therefore, working in a group can be a challenging task for children with Autism. Autistic children don't always react positively to group activity; it can cause stress and exhaustion lasting hours, days or even a week. Some of the reasons why group work causes stress and exhaustion are as follows:

• Children with Autism need routine and want to be in control of the task or its output. Therefore, working in-group can cause anxiety due to lack of structure.

• Transitions can be demanding for children with Autism because they require the child to shift attention and take in new information rapidly. These situations also present fewer cues or prompts to cope with the new move.

• Autistic children find forming their own group intimidating. Making a selection requires language and social skills and being able to execute a plan, all which are challenging for these children.

• For autistic children, group work can cause sensory overload due to an excessively noisy environment.

It is important to provide support to these children so they can also benefit from working in group settings. There are, however, many ways to make group activities more comfortable.

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