Saturday, October 18, 2008

Purchasing Toys for Autistic Children

Yesterday, I asked several special ed educators at an at risk preschool to critique my Play to Learn quilted playmat:

They were very positive with the following observation. This would be for a learning disabled child that could differentiate between the advanced patterns. These patterns could be overwhelming to some children not yet able to discern the differences between the small patterned circles. But as the child progresses, he or she would be able to play cohesively with the matching game.
As with any child, purchasing a toy must be appropriate to their abilities. Many times, we think that we should challenge them which will make them "smarter". However, frustration leads to abandonment of the game and a sense of failure. Simple, repetitive games give a child a sense of accomplishment with readiness to move on to the next level. This is especially true with the autistic child.
I have been working in the classroom with autistic children for 13 years. These experiences have be the most fruitful of my professional life.