Community Activities for Those with Autism | Harbor School
 

Community Activities for Those with Autism

Girl on track Community Activities for Those with Autism

Although at the present time, COVID-19 has disrupted the level of regular community activities schools are able to implement, this article is to highlight the importance of community involvement for the special needs student population.

Community activities and recreation  can be particularly important for the mental and physical health of children with autism. These activities allow kids to increase physical aptitude, self-esteem, confidence, and independence. By enabling kids with autism to feel like a part of their community, participation in these programs also helps improve social skills that can be applied to other areas of life as well like school and work. 

The nonprofit organization Autism Speaks has some helpful advice for how to get your autistic child more involved in the community. Expose your child to many different types of activities to see what might interest them. You can also use technology to help you figure it out. The Wii system provides sporting activity simulations that allows the child to try out different sports virtually. With COVID restrictions, many activities may only be available online right now, so that might be a great way to ease your child into a new activity.

It doesn’t have to be a competitive team sport.  Individual sporting activities such as running, hiking, skiing, skating, cycling, or golf allow kids with autism to participate in recreation without social interactions that might cause stress. It doesn’t even have to be a sport at all. Hobbies such as collecting stamps, playing chess, gardening, or taking art or music lessons can also provide enjoyment, as well as increased self-confidence and motivation. If your child likes animals, you could try volunteering at a local animal shelter, or offering to care for neighbors’ pets.

Your school may have therapists or staff resources to help your child find his or her niche in the community. Recreation therapists use a variety of techniques including arts and crafts, animals, sports, games, dance, drama, music and community outings to build confidence and social skills so that children with autism can enjoy greater independence. In addition, therapists help kids integrate into the community by teaching them how to use community resources and participate in recreational activities.

As the parent of an autistic child, you know that not every experience in the community will be positive. As always, planning ahead and having a backup plan is important. Connecting with other parents of autistic children in your local community can also help to discover what worked and didn’t work for them. Ultimately, the potential benefits of community involvement will outweigh the risks.


LeRoi Jones principal harbor school

Harbor School a private special education school in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Our mission at Harbor School is to help all of our special needs students with learning, social, language, behavioral, and other disabilities. Our highly skilled staff are committed daily to helping each student reach their full potential.

We would be more than happy to discuss your child's specific needs and challenges, so please call us at 732.544.9394, or request a tour at Harbor School in Eatontown, NJ. We are located just minutes off of the Garden State Parkway at exit 105 and conveniently located off of Route 35 and Route 36 in Monmouth County, NJ.

LeRoi R. Jones
Principal-Harbor School, Eatontown, NJ