When it comes to receiving an early diagnosis of autism, many parents are overwhelmed and confused. I know because I’ve been there before when my now 16 year old daughter received her autism diagnosis. Knowing the early signs of autism in toddlers is just one of the keys. Knowing what to do after, also helps.
Sometimes it can be as simple as knowing what types of toys to buy. Sure, you more than likely have toys on hand already but here are a few educational toddler toys that could be beneficial for a toddler that was recently diagnosed with autism.
Best Educational Toddler Toys for Autism
Toys that help develop fine motor skills and coordination are a huge help for toddlers in general. But, for toddlers with autism; there may be even more benefits. Often, fine motor skills are delayed in an autistic toddler. Because of that, having toys that help with fine motor skills are highly beneficial.
Toys such as:
- Latch and hooks
- cause and effect (as the noise may also be rewarding)
- playdough or slime
Educational toys that also stimulate the imagination may be helpful.
Interactive toys are some of the best educational and fun toys for a child. They usually stimulate and entertain the child so that they can learn while having fun. With an autistic toddler, they may also latch on to certain things with the toys. This is called stimming and yes, it is a typical behavior.
In fact, I’ll even bring up the dreaded fidget spinner.
Yes, I know, some parents are very much against them.
However, for a child on the spectrum, a fidget spinner can help with focusing. You, as a parent, should use your best judgement in this situation of course.
Other toys to consider include those that have the following features:
- pushing/pulling or filling/emptying
Toddlers are curious and have to touch and look at everything in their world. Action toys, cause and effect toys and any activity that challenges their minds are always favorites. Shape sorters, which are colorful and interesting, can keep a child entertained for hours.
Stacking blocks, simple puzzles and any toys that pop up are also high on the list of fun and educational toys.
Older toddlers can have fun with colorful fridge magnets, books that feature sounds and songs and other interactive toys. Any sorts of fanciful play sets, such as garages, airports and dollhouses, can also be popular and educational ways for your child to learn about the world around them.
Be mindful, of course, that your toddler is likely going to put things in their mouth. You’ll still want age appropriate toys that don’t have a lot of small parts.
My daughter, for example, had extreme PICA when she was younger. She was constantly mouthing non-food items and she had to be watched constantly. While she still has some issues with PICA, it’s not nearly as bad as it used to be.
One of the key things to keep in mind here: your toddler is still a toddler. Your child is a still a child. Just now, they happen to have an autism diagnosis. Love them, unconditionally. And hang in there moms & dads. Everything will work out fine.