10 Ways Board Games Improve Social Skills for your Autistic Child
One of the indications of Autism is difficulty socializing. Difficulties include eye contact, interest in others, sharing and communicating thoughts. Boardgames are a great way to work on these barriers of socialization.
1. Playing boardgames encourages social interaction. Your child will have to look for ways to communicate with other players.
2. Teaches your child to follow directions. Following directions is important in many settings. Playing board games is a fun way to practice this skill.
3. Your child will learn turn-taking. Taking turns is fundamental to socializing. It will also teach patience.
4. Games have predictable rules. Predictability is often comforting for an autistic child. You can go over rules and steps before starting the game with your child.
5. Inclusion. This activity can include every member of the family. It gives the child to interact with siblings or other members who may feel like they're not part of his or her world.
6. It can build on language skills. For example, in the game Guess Who, a player has to ask and answer yes or no questions to figure out who the other person is.
7. It gives them time off screen. Screen addiction is a big issue with all children. Additionally, when kids are playing games on a device, they're not interacting with the people around them and become more disconnected. Since board games require interaction, it gives the child a chance to connect more.
8. Playing games offer an opportunity to talk about emotions or resolve disagreements. Winning and losing games or hands is a great way to talk about feelings.
9. Brings up discussions about cheating. If there's cheating involved, it's a chance to teach a valuable lesson.
10. Many autistics are visual thinkers and board games are visual. Another great example, in the Guess Who game, you ask questions based on the character's appearance. You have to pay attention to facial features such as eye and hair color.
An additional advantage of playing board games is the use of fine motor skills. Picking up game pieces, moving, and placing them in the appropriate area is good practice of this skill. In Candyland, for example, one has to place their game piece in the right color block after they spin a dial.
My personally recommended games to start off with include:
-Chutes and Ladders
These games are simple and fun no matter what age.
There are also games specifically designed for children on the spectrum. Those tend to be on the pricey side but may be well worth the look.
Board games are great tools to help your child socialize and spend time with family. Family time is the best thing your child will get out of this experience.
What types of board games do you play with your family?