After School Cool

Categories: Parent Perspective

My daughter Adalyn was diagnosed with autism around two years of age. She is now ten. Ady has always had therapy after school in the home so it’s always a challenge finding functional play ideas and activities that she enjoys.

She is a lover of the outdoors so as temperatures cool down and darkness falls earlier we need to find options for her not only to get energy out but also to engage her.

Luckily she has an amazing RBT who is with us four days out of the week. She is always willing to help Ady and finds ways to include her in activities. It’s also very important when we have family outings, like going to the local orchard with us, because she’s able to help her with safety skills and give us opportunities that we otherwise wouldn’t be able to enjoy.

Amazon dance streamers

It is more of a challenge finding indoor activities for Ady to participate in. She absolutely loves looking through pictures on her tablet. Which is an excellent leisure activity. We use pictures that she finds on her tablet and ask her to identify people on the team, places, and family members. 

She enjoys using her art board/whiteboard to draw and write on. This helps learn name writing and shape identification.

Melissa and doug wipe off art board

Melissa and doug tabletop

With the help of her brother and sister Ady also enjoys making cookies and homemade donuts. I let her pour in the ingredients and help with mixing. Any time we can incorporate life skills it’s definitely a bonus. With Ady’s love of donuts this is an activity we can always engage her in. We use donut baking pans and Kodiak pancake and waffle mixes. 

Donut pan

Kodiak pancake and waffle mix

It’s always an option to play one of her preferred games. Some preferred  choices are Pop the Pig, Shark Bite, Candy Land, Toilet Trouble and Don’t Break the Ice. Her siblings are always up for game time and it’s a great way to include Ady. It gives her a chance to practice taking turns and it’s always a good time.

It’s important for us as a family to include Ady in experiences like going out to restaurants to eat and for her to have an enjoyable experience. In the past this wasn’t always possible. During the week we find that they are not as crowded. It’s a great time to work on sitting and eating at the table and being able to participate in community outings. This breaks up the day after being in school and it helps to build social skills and awareness. I make sure to take her tablet and plenty of fidgets. Some options that we find are very autism mindful are Chic-fil-a, Friendly’s, and a few local spots.

There are alot of things that typical kids Ady’s age are interested in that differ from her interests. I’ve always tried to expose her to different experiences. I love to give her as many opportunities as I can to develop interests and make her feel special. Even though it can feel challenging at times, I always want to do my part to provide her with options to help her grow and feel her personal best.

Susan Bitler
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