Introducing Board Games to Kids with Autism
It's Game on! with Goliath
I have been out of the board game loop forever. The reason, my daughter who has autism was never interested, until now. I received a box full of the latest Goliath Games to check out and I am happy to say, even with all the new themes, characters and brands nothing has changed! Games were always a part of my life growing up as I'm sure it was for a majority of you. We all had that cupboard filled with board games with the taped corners from being used so much, right? From Monopoly to Life and the endless card games, it always provided a social outlet, a way to spend time with family or friends and was even a solo escape for me on a rainy day.
Autism and board games I found don't go hand in hand easily, at least they didn't for my girl. Sure computer games are easy fixes for our kids but it doesn't lend to many areas of emotional growth they need as most electronic games are played simultaneously. During her years with ABA therapy she fought tooth and nail when the simplest of games were introduced to her. Issues we had? Not wanting to take turns, not following the rules, not understanding the rules along with a lack of attention span, it was a disaster and it was the catalyst for many meltdowns. For many, not knowing how to be a gracious winner or not being a sore looser can also hinder fun game play.
I was determined to try again now that she was older and could grasp simple rules and turn taking. Things we all learn from our peers and family like second nature have not come easy for us but it's improving. If you are in the same boat as me, here are a few suggestions to help you introduce your kiddo to board games.
- Set your child up for success by explaining the rules of the game first, if they are too difficult modify them.
- Pairing up a game with a preferred theme, object, concept is a great way to get them interested.
- Select a game that is not too long, not too complicated and can easily be modified if necessary.
- Having a few games to choose from is also a great way to allow your child to pick the game they want to try to play.
- Priming your child, making it a fun time (not a chore or goal) will also make game playing more natural and fun.
- Have a designated game night set weekly, kids on the spectrum love a routine.
- Child still struggling, don't try to finish a game all at once, set a time of play like 10-15 min. and work up more time from there.
- Choose games within your Childs age range/ skill level and not just by the recommend age.
- Reward your child for playing with a new preferred game or activity!
Biggest challenges we had in the past were understanding the rules and the goal of the game itself. Patience was another huge roadblock for us aka waiting your turn. I tried having her peers play with her and it wasn't enough to get her interested in the past. This is always an issue with autism, parallel play is simple but the two or three players involved with the same game taking turns, my girl wasn't having it. To say I was frustrated would be an understatement.
Fast forward to the present and so far we are having great success! Shopkins is a very preferred item for my daughter and she took to the games with great interest. Mixing in other options has been seamless now that she has the confidence and interest, discovering that games can be fun! What's next? We move on to strategy and basic rules like knowing which square to start your next move from (she still counts the square she is on as one) and multi step planning. Looking at the options and planning a move to set you up for winning is an area she is not versed in yet. Critical thinking and pragmatics, who knew it was such a major part of kids game and could be so beneficial!
If you have a child or know one with Autism, I can't recommend Goliath Games or their craft kits enough. Instead of buying another doll or figure they collect, grab a game with a similar theme they love for their birthday, graduation, the holidays or even better just because! I know first hand how difficult it can be to buy for ASD kiddos, why not make it something they can have fun with while expanding their thinking and learning!
The end result and most important for me is the joy of sharing a simple board game with my daughter drama free and knowing it's helping her on the path to becoming a more social young lady.
Kids will be kids! One thing I learned about Goiath Games is the ease in getting replacement parts. Best part besides, all of their replacement parts include FREE shipping. Oh and if you have purchased a Goliath Game before sign up for their monthly contest, they give away $100 worth of games to someone every month. Find the form HERE
I partnered up with Goliath Games for this post and a fun giveaway. Enter below at a chance for your child to create with Paint-Sation! (more info here) and featured in the video above.
You can easily find Goliath Games at most retailers like Target, Walmart, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Kohls and Kmart to name a few.