Developing your autistic child’s gross motor skills is important as it can hinder his daily movements when it is not developed properly. For some children on the autism spectrum, movement activities may even be a source of stress.
Below are some activities that you can do with your child to develop his gross motor skills.
1. Balancing Exercises
A good sense of balance is important in a lot of tasks involving gross motor skills and a lot of children on the autism spectrum have difficulty in this area.
To see how well your child can maintain his balance, ask your child to stand motionless with his eyes closed. Once he is able to maintain his balance, you can then progress to having your child walk on a line and then a beam if available.
You can also have him play on other balancing toys such as the Rocking See Saw to help him improve his balance.
2. Playing with a Ball
If it is the first time that your child will be playing with a ball, it is always a good idea to start simple. You can start by rolling a ball towards your child and asking him to roll it back to you. Doing this will help develop his eye tracking skills. It will also develop his motor planning skills as he follows the movement of the ball.
You can move on to more complicated activities as he gets more familiar playing with the ball. You can play catch or bounce the ball. You can also slowly start to introduce ball sports when you feel he is ready.
3. Engaging in Pretend Play
Pretend play is a very fun activity which allows your child to develop his gross motor skills while developing his imagination as well. You can hop like a bunny, fly like an airplane, swim like a fish or gallop like a horse. There is no limit to the things that you and your child can do.
Dancing is one of the activities that children usually enjoy the most. Parents and therapists both have used dancing as an effective way to encourage imitation and to teach children some everyday living skills.
This is a simple activity that you can do with your child. Have him stand beside you and ask him to follow your foot movements. Start by marching in place and let him focus on the rhythm.
When your child has learned to march in place, encourage him to take steps and march around the room. You can also teach him the accompanying arm movements as he gets more comfortable marching around.