If you are looking for a good board game for a child with autism, take a look at our list of the best board games for children with autism. Autism is one of the fastest growing developmental disorders in the world and it affects 1 in 68 children. Since there is no medical treatment for autism, best therapy includes proper education and help. In a proper environment with professional help, children with autism can improve their condition and develop better social and language skills. If you are interested in schools in New York City, take a look at our list of Best NYC Schools for Children with Autism.
One of the more difficult aspects of autism is avoiding social interaction, eye contact, and communication in general. Also, a lot of autistic children may have a very short attention span for some things while they can endlessly repeat certain actions such as, for example, turning the wheels on toys. Restricted and repetitive behavior has been recognized as a core symptom of autism, often displayed from early childhood. This type of behavior often reflects in the atypical way of play behavior where a lot of children with autism don’t seem to differentiate toys from other objects. According to CDC’s guide on symptoms and signs of autism, one of the “red flags” is if a child does not play “pretend” games by 18 months, such as pretending to feed a doll, to be a doctor, etc. Because of such behavior, it is important to find games which will occupy their attention and help in building up their social and cognitive skills.
Board games are a perfect choice for children with autism. There are a number of things that attract autistic children to play board games. These games have a predictable set of rules and actions are repeated which can motivate children with autism to repeat game play. In this case, repetitive behavior is focused on the game. If you think about the board games, focus is usually on the board and not the people who play. Children learn to wait for their turn and pay attention to other players’ actions without eye contact which they often avoid. Thus, an autistic child can interact with other players and at the same time somewhat stay in their comfort zone. A lot of children with autism are visual learners and board games allow them to use their visual strengths and remember that you will have to give your best to win in this game, since autistic children are very good at remembering visual details. Children who are higher on the autism spectrum often excel at mathematics. Board games involving numbers, patterns or matching geometric shapes can help them practice and enhance their skills.
In order to compile this list of best board games for children with autism, I’ve consulted a couple of sources. Website Autism Teaching Tools deals with different tools used in teaching children with autism. They have lists of recommended books for children with autism, computer games, toys, puzzles and board games as well. They singled out their favorite (and probably most effective) board games. Autism Speaks published a whole section on toys and games for children with autism. Their recommendations include a lengthy list of toy manufacturers who have games and toys designed especially for children with autism. Finally, I have consulted website Simply Fun, which has more than 100 award-winning products and this company works with Play Advisory Council experts, Dr. Toni Linder and Matt Brown. You can read more about these experts on this link. Also, I’ve consulted Reddit and BoardGameGeek and their advice on good games for children with autism. This list of best board games for children with autism is compiled according to most frequently recommended board games according to above-mentioned websites and forums. Also, I’ve added Spell-a-Puzzle on the list after reading recommendation from Susan Sentor, parent of an autistic child. The game is easy and educational at the same time. Let’s take a look at the list of best board games for children with autism: