When you have a child on the autism spectrum, you often can’t imagine sitting down with him or her for a game night. Children on the spectrum have a hard time attending, following steps, sharing and taking turns, as well as handling frustrations when a game does not go well, leaving parents frustrated, confused and uncertain of how to manage a common child experience: playing board games or playing with toys.
However, Applied Behavioral Analysis therapists actually use games as a training tool to assist in managing these behaviors, as well as setting behavior plans around goals that can be achieved through game practice. There are often a selection of games that, in their experience, are a great place to start the path of play. Specifically focusing on the skills of: Wait, Break, Ask, Share, Time and Turns. In turn, these skills developed during play can be transitioned into life skills, such as waiting in a checkout line, or asking for help to put on a coat or understanding how long to wait in a doctors office.
Wait. Waiting a turn, especially in games where the level develops when they might miss their turn.
Break. Taking a break when the game gets to frustrating.
Ask. Asking for help rather than acting out. Using words to express frustration and asking for assistance to overcome it.
Share: Letting others have a preferred game piece or sharing space at a table to play the game.
Time: Games can take a long time to play so learning how to focus and attend. Often using a timer to help managed expectations.
Turns: Learning patterns and steps to game playing. Learning the rules to follow and the order in which they may need to be followed.
Some games really support the learning of these five principles and have play patterns that can be adaptive to the childs needs too. Plus, some games have the opportunity to progress as the child masters goals and objectives.
As a parent or family member of a child on the autism spectrum, you know that there is a reason science calls it the ‘spectrum’. There are lots of variations for children with this diagnosis. While these are my favorite picks, I know that it may not be best for every autistic child, but it does give a list to help you figure out what is best for your child and their needs. Thus, if you are looking for games and toys that meet the general needs for children with autism, here are my top HASBRO toys and games for autistic children, with a really quick description of why. You can see my other favorite games and toys for autism by other brands here.
Top HASBRO Toys and Games for Kids with Autism
Connect 4: This teaches children how to follow patterns and mimic them. The vertical nature of the game also provides another play pattern.
Trouble: The popper in the game can be stimulating for kids on the spectrum, which may enhance their participation in the game. Other skills include taking turns, learning to be last. The game has different ‘modes’ (Double Trouble and Warp spaces) that can change up the game.
Hi-Ho Cherry O: Teaches kids to hold and maneuver small objects and place them in key places. Also works on taking turns and building. Game is very simple, making it a great first game to start.
Don’t Break the Ice: Teaches children how to attend and learn to be more gentle. Also teaches kids to manage their frustrations when the ice breaks.
Chutes and Ladders: Teaches kids to take turns and the game has various play patterns to slowly build a child’s attending to the game and teaching how to win and lose.
Candyland: Teaches kids to take turns. Also various play patterns to slowly build a child’s attention span and learning to win and learn by building up to playing the full length of the game. Lots of customization of play with this game. You can see my video on the various way to play here.
Mr. And Mrs. Potato Head: Teaches children to manipulate small objects and learn where they go. Also can assist with identifying emotions and body parts, and what they can do.
Play-Doh Drill N/ Fill: In addition to giving the children a chance to enhance their fine motor skills, this can also assist children in understanding their mouths, taking care of their teeth, as well as preparing for dental visits.
Play-Doh Animal Duffle Bag: Playdoh is great in that it can help children learn to use their imaginations. Creating animals with this assortment, adults can use it as a teachable moment with the names and sounds animals make, as well as having kids learn to mimic the creations.
Rescue Bots Rescue Assortment: Kids can learn how to see cause and effect, as well as manipulate objects, and learn to deal with frustrations if the transformation is difficult or time consuming.
Elefun Busy Ball Popper: Teaches children spacial relations and cause and effect.
One more resource to consider. ToyBox Tools – which assists parents with developmentally disabled children as it relates specifically to Hasbro toys. You can learn more about it here.
What other Hasbro games do you think should be on this list?
Charlene Chronicles may earn compensation from affiliate programs.