As of 2018, approximately 1 in 59 children will be diagnosed with autism as early as age 2 (although most aren’t diagnosed until after age 4). With the rising prevalence in Autism, it feels like most of our caseloads are being dominated by this high-need population. Fortunately, I have found some “magic” tricks to help me with my low-verbal kiddos.
Bubbles! This one shouldn’t be a surprise, but in case it is, blowing bubbles is a great activity for fostering many core vocabulary words and signs including: open, more, please, and all done. I also use bubbles to work on CVC words (i.e., ‘pop’), expanding utterance length (e.g., “I want bubbles,” “I want more bubbles,” “More bubbles please,” etc.), and of course, as a reinforcer.
Pop the Pig! I cannot stress enough how much this game has helped me in therapy this year. From choice making (e.g., forfeiting the dice and providing two different color choices,), to turn-taking, to expanding utterance length (e.g., “I got red,” or “I want red please”), this game has become a therapy essential. Not to mention, it’s also motivating for the kids to feed the pig, press on its head, and hear/watch it pop! Purchase it here: https://www.amazon.com/Pop-Pig-Game-Improved-Belly-Busting/dp/B00CYQ24QG
Matching/Memory Game! This one is great for kids who have emerging turn-taking skills. It is also great to teach vocabulary! I have a matching game that has pictures of various animals and everyday objects. Depending on the child’s skill level, I use 3 or 4 pairs all the way up to 12! Search “matching game” on Amazon and the choices are endless!
Lastly, don’t forget to celebrate the little things! I know lack of progress can become frustrating; believe me, I regularly question if I’m helping some of my autism kiddos in the way that they need. However, the slightest growth, whether it be a second longer of eye contact or one less prompt in therapy, should be celebrated. Now go out there and work some magic!