Activities for Touch
The sense of touch is all over our body , not just in your fingers. Children with autism can be either over or under sensitive to touch.
Those who are over sensitive can feel distracted by the clothing label, they get angry when their hands get messy, they will avoid playing with dough, mud or paints.
Children who are under sensitive will love touching everything to stimulate themselves, which is not always safe.
It is important to recognise your child's needs so you can provide them with activities that can help them develop their sensory system , calm down and self-regulate.
Games for Oversensitivness
1. Water games are great fun and can be a great way to reduce anxiety related to touch.
You can do it during bath time or in a bucket. Use a few things you can find at home eg: medicine dropper, sponge, cloth, straws, spray bottle, funnel and explore how water goes through them by squirting it out, squeezing. It's good to encourage your child to describe their feelings and it is always great if parents get wet too.
2. What is it? A great way to introduce different textures is to ask your child to close their eyes and touch their back or tummy with different things and ask them to guess what they are. You could use a feather,cotton balls, different textures fabric. While doing it describe the feeling eg: Isn't is soft?
3. What letter / number is it? Great fun for children who know some letters and /or numbers.
Ask your child to close their eyes and draw a letter or a number or their back. You can use your finger or an object like a cotton bud, a feather. Take turns so your child can practise on you and compete who is better.
4. Scarves. Gentle and easy game.
Collect as many scarves as possible, made of various fabrics. Throw them up and catch, put your hands up and wait for the scarf to land on you.
You can also wrap youself in scarves depending on the level of tolerance.
5. Food faces. Great way to encourage children to touch different food and if you are lucky they might even put it into their mouth. Use slices of cucumber as eyes, peppers as smile. Ideas for this can be found here.
6. Hidden Treasures. Great game to introduce various textures.
Hide small objects such as a ring, crayon, Kinder surprise objects in bowls of rice, pasta, flour. Take turns and dig into to see what you have found.
Games for Undersensitivness
1. What is hiding in a sock? Cover your child's eyes so they can't see what objects you are going to hide.
Put a few objects to a sock and ask your child to take one out. Ask your child to guess what it is without looking. You can turn and see who is better at it.
2. Messy games. If your child needs stimulation and is very tactile let them play with play dough, slime, water beads, mix cornflour with water, let them dig in mud. Even though it is messy you will get a very happy child.