What are some ways in which you can promote autism acceptance? This blog highlights some simple, everyday ways to show your acceptance of neurodivergence in your child. These activities also model what acceptance looks like to others around you, so that they may follow suit.
While autism awareness has made great strides in recent years, we must shift our focus to accepting, embracing, and valuing neurodiversity.
Awareness alone does not necessarily translate into understanding or support for autistic individuals. Acceptance, on the other hand, means embracing and respecting neurodiversity. It recognizes that autism is part of an individual’s identity. By moving beyond awareness to acceptance, we can create a world where everyone, regardless of their neurological differences, is celebrated for who they are.
Creating a supportive and inclusive environment for an autistic child is an important part of fostering acceptance for their neurodivergence. Acceptance, as you know, begins at home. By doing so, you are also modeling the same to your extended family and friends. This gives them an opportunity to learn from you and follow your lead in their relationship with your child. It also sets an example for their interactions with other neurodivergent folks they may meet during the course of their life.
Activities to Celebrate Autism Acceptance
In this blog post, we will explore 5 ways to celebrate autism acceptance with your child.
1. Sensory Play
Discovering the world starts with our senses! Sensory play can benefit individuals with autism by promoting self-regulation, enhancing sensory integration, and providing a means of communication and self-expression.
Children learn about their surroundings through playful experiences and by interacting with their environment. Creating a sensory box with your child can be a fun and engaging way to promote learning and exploration. Most importantly, it caters to their unique sensory needs. It is a self-contained box with all the elements for a sensory activity. This box can also be theme based. We can include sensory items, books related to the activity, AAC tools relating to the activity, and writing tools where possible.
Here is how you can build a Sensory Box for noise makers sensory box
Some other sensory activities you can try include:
- Sorting letters and shapes with different textures.
- Playing a smelling game with candles, flowers, spices, or food.
- Using sensory water bottles filled with glitter and small objects.
These approaches foster acceptance of individual differences. It does so by acknowledging and embracing the diverse sensory experiences of individuals with autism.
2. AAC Games
It is vital to recognize that individuals with autism, like everyone else, enjoy a range of activities and interests. By offering diverse and inclusive games that cater to different ages, preferences, and skill levels, we can promote a sense of belonging and acceptance for individuals with autism.
AAC games are a fun and effective way to help individuals with autism to improve their skills and engage more fully with the world around them. Here’s a list of exciting games we have curated for all ages.
3. Nature Walks
Going on a walk in nature can be a calming and enjoyable activity for autistic children. They can explore the outdoors, observe animals and plants, and enjoy the fresh air.
4. Bonding with Music
Research has shown that listening to or creating music triggers the release of oxytocin, also known as the “cuddle hormone”, which leads to a surge of happiness. Music has the power to connect individuals in a meaningful way, making it an enjoyable and effective tool for motivating children to develop new skills.
You can try to:
- Incorporate music into their daily routines by singing with their children and moving and dancing to their favorite tunes, either by singing along or playing recorded music.
- Using simple or homemade instruments, like beads in a plastic bottle, can create a unique musical experience.
Music can provide a means of self-expression, allowing individuals with autism to communicate in ways that may be difficult for them through verbal communication.
5. Get Moving and Communicating
Adding a fun and playful element to physical exercises can have numerous benefits. Simon Says is an excellent activity that can enhance your child’s listening and gross motor skills simultaneously.
Start the game by saying “Simon Says” followed by a simple instruction that your child can understand, such as “Simon says touch your nose”, ”or “clap your hands”. Encourage your child to use their AAC system to respond. For example, they can use their device to say “I touch my nose” or “I clap my hands”.
Make sure to praise your child for their efforts and progress throughout the game. By doing so, they can feel encouraged and motivated to participate in physical activities & social interactions. This will make them feel valued and supported for their unique abilities and needs. Eventually they will also begin to feel accepted and included by their peers.
A Final Word
Raising awareness and promoting acceptance of autism should not be limited to just one day or one month of the year. It should be an ongoing effort that we prioritize each & every day of the year. And do remember, that it begins at home.
The games and activities mentioned above will give others a chance to have a great time with the autistic individual. This will help them realize that an autistic person, just like every human being, is gloriously different & unique. And not less.