If you have young children with Autism, you may have noticed they shy away from you and others. Part of the reason for this is the sensory problems that a child with Autism can have. Many children with Autism do not like to be touched.
They can draw their hands back if you try to touch them like something is hot. One of the ways to combat this is by using small tools that a children with Autism might like to touch.
The tool might be as simple as a small tub with sand or water in it. It could also be something like a koosh ball. A koosh ball is a plastic ball with things that look like hair or spines coming out of it. There are soft one and hard ones. Parents can find them at dollar stores.
Being able to carry as small sensory toy or tool is ideal. At first you can play with it and let your child watch. Eventually you can let your child touch it or guide your child to touch it. Very slowly your child will take over the tool. Then it is time to find a new one with a new feel.
Using tools like this help lead to the ability for a parent and later a teacher to be able to touch a child's hands. Touching their hands is important to teaching other skills. Some parents also notice that the small tool has also become a tool to help with behaviors like waiting or calming down.
Small tools are also wonderful for another reason. Many times it is difficult to teach a child with Autism to cross midline with a toy. 'Crossing midline' means they can move a toy across their body to the other hand. Part of the reason a child will not do that can be the sensory defenses in their hands.
Crossing midline is considered a milestone for children with disabilities. If your child participates in physical therapy or occupational therapy this is one of the early goals. Parents can start some of this work, gently of course, early on.