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Early Intervention Games - Excerpt:

Spirit Games

Fun, Joyful Ways to Develop Social and Motor Skills in Children with Autism Spectrum or Sensory Processing Disorders

EYEDROPPER SQUIRTS

Here is a game that has three important elements. It takes fine motor skills to work the eyedropper, cognitive skills to understand the principle of fill and release, and a sense of fun to squirt another.

Goals

Materials

Set-up

Give each child an eyedropper and a separate container of water, or put the one pail of water in the middle of a circle for them all to share.

Directions

Show each child how to fill the eyedropper with water by using a four-part sequence:

Variations

What is being learned

Modifications

Tactilely defensive children might have difficulty with a sudden burst of water squirted out. Instead, dribble the water slowly on different body parts to help increase their tolerance.

If the child can’t handle that amount of touch yet, you can both squirt water at something else, such as at your reflections in the mirror.

FEATHER BLOWING

Watching feathers can be fascinating because they move slowly and respond to the slightest current.

Goals

Materials

Small feathers

Set-up

If two children play together, have them stand close, facing each other. If it’s an adult and a child, the adult should be at the child’s level.

Directions

Show your partner how to cup her hands in anticipation of catching a floating feather. Softly blow a feather and have your partner catch it. Give as little or as much help as is needed.

Take turns being the blower and the catcher. Work toward having two children play together, with adults assisting as needed.

Variations

What is being learned

Modifications

LISTENING GAME

Hearing a sound they can’t identify can be scary for children, and there are so many sounds in our world. This game helps make them familiar.

Goals

Materials

Recording of common sounds

Set-up

Make a recording of common sounds, such as a car starting, water running, a vacuum cleaner running, a dog barking, a door closing, and a toilet flushing.

Directions

Have the children sit and tell them you are going to ask them to listen to some sounds. When they are quiet, start the recording. Stop the recording after each sound and ask, “What made that sound?” If needed, give them choices, “Was that a toilet flushing or a dog barking?” Make the choices as obvious or subtle as needed by your group.

Variations

What is being learned

Modifications

LOST IN RICE

This is a classic game, and there is a reason for that. Everyone enjoys digging for treasures.

Goals

Materials

Set-up

Fill a container with the rice or other material. Use a basin, box, or any container that allows children the freedom to dig without the rice spilling over the sides.

Directions

Either bury the items in the rice yourself, or have another child bury the items to find. You can do this with or without the child watching. “Tanya buried something in the rice. Can you find it? A car! You found a car!”

Let the child play with the car for a while before saying, “Now it’s your turn to bury the car for Tanya to find.”

Variations

Modification

For the child who is tactilely sensitive and reluctant to let his hands touch unfamiliar things, allow him to watch the desired toy being buried so that he’ll be willing to go get it. As he becomes more familiar and comfortable with the game, try using other materials, such as sand or damp oatmeal, to get him to tolerate more textures. Keep a bucket of water nearby so he can rinse as needed. Then, later, keep the bucket of water further away so he learns to tolerate the feeling for longer periods.

SINK THE BOAT

This game has an element of suspense. Will your pebble be the one that sinks the boat? Watch and see.

Goals

Materials

Set-up

Place a basin in the middle of the table, filled with water. Float a small plastic container (or tray) on the water.

Directions

Tell the players that they are going to see how many pebbles it takes to sink the boat. Go around the table giving each child in turn a pebble and have them put their pebble in the small container.

Comment on the progress. After one child puts his pebble in, say, “Still floating. Next turn,” “Still floating,” and so on until, “It sank!”

Variations

What is being learned

Modifications

 

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Early Intervention Games

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