With Autism... Nothing Changes If Nothing Changes, Activities & Early Intervention

When my child turned three years old, he was accepted into a Special Education Pre-school Program in District 93.

The results of this assessment showed that at three years of age my child was 18 months developmentally.

The IEP team included a Speech Language Pathologist, Occupational Therapist and a Special Education Teacher.

They distributed informational packets for the parents to take home and read.

The team suggested working on these exercise’s at home everyday.

Explaining to us parents, how early intervention is vital and even more so is being consistent with the exercises in the handouts. Eventually with practice and perseverance the hope is that the child would master the skills and then the parents can move the child to the next level.

That’s what I did, Jordan he was basically considered non-verbal he said a couple words however there was no real means of communication.

I worked on these skills with my child day after day for years it was the absolute best thing I ever did!

Was it easy” HELL NO” there were lot’s of days I cried being consumed with frustration, but I got over myself and went back to work! I had no idea what the end results would be, or if this was going to be successful? I just did it?

My focus was on getting my child to his appropriate age developmentally.

This is what I worked on at home every single day without fail.

Teaching Pre-Language Skills Through Play

Communicating wants and needs

• Those who cannot talk often become frustrated displaying inappropriate behaviors when not able to express their wants and needs.

• Establish a formal communication system such as PECS, Sign Language, Board Maker. Eventually, your child will be able to indicate wants and needs for objects that are not present and will be a lot less frustrated.

This Chinese proverb shows the importance of senses in the learning process!!

• When I hear, I forget.

• When I see, I remember.

• When I do, I understand

Teaching Pre-Language Skills Through Play

Naming and requesting objects

• Children who are non-verbal should be encouraged to make attempts to name and request objects.
• Play store - This is a fun way to request objects.
• Grab bag- Several items are placed in a bag “that your child would recognize.”
• Have your child pull one object out at a time and say what this is?
• Get creative use toys, laundry items or food.

Teaching Pre-Language Skills Through Play

Personal information

It is important for your child to practice showing a form of identification such as: a name tag or identification card.

• If there is an emergency situation involving the police your child can convey this information.
• Practice your child’s name, address and phone number, rehearse with a number of people in different settings, one setting could take place at the police or the fire department.

Teaching Pre-Language Skills Through Play

Imitation with objects: Demonstrate the action with an object. Then, have your child do what you are doing.

• Scribbling on paper with a pencil or crayon.
• Stacking blocks or rings.
• Ringing a bell or hitting a drum.
• Putting a hat on and taking it off.
• Blowing bubbles.
• Rolling a ball or throwing a ball.

Teaching Pre-Language Skills Through Play

Imaginative play-

The child should learn the basic sequence of steps involved in both
play and real life activity..

• The natural sequence of dishwashing.
• Turning the faucet off and on.
• Using hot and cold water.
• Using soap and water to wash.
• Rinsing with clear water to rinse.
• Using a towel to dry.
• Putting objects away

Teaching Pre-Language Skills Through Play

Matching Objects.

Place three objects on the table.....

For Example, a comb, a shoe, and a plate

Hold up one object that matches one of the items on the table

• Give the object to the child
• Have the child place the object on top or beside the matching object.

Sequencing Activity

Put things in one - two- three- order

• Arrange pebbles from smallest to largest.
• Name household objects from lightest to heaviest.
• Color with a crayon-from lightest to darkest.
• Arrange glasses of water from empty to full.
• Name people from shortest to tallest.

A Guide “Cognitive Receptive Language 3-4 years old”

• Knows basic body parts,
• Points to 10 parts on command
• Follows 2-3 step commands consistently


• Get your books
• Get your shoes
• Get your coat”

Understands plurals: “Show me 2 cats”

Understands Opposites: “up/down”

Comprehends compound sentences

For example: (“When you are done eating, you can put on your movie.”)

Can your child can stay with an activity for 11-12 minutes.

A Guide “Expressive Language 3-4 years old”

Has an average sentence length of 4-6 words

For example: “I want to play outside”

• A expressive vocabulary of 900- 1500 words
• Ask many questions, especially “who” and “why”
• Uses verbal greetings (Hello/Goodbye”)
• Tells 2-3 events in order ( “I went to the store than I went to the park”)
• Can perform simple verbal analogies ( My dad is a man, my mom is a woman)
• Counts up to 10 objects

Reading Activity

Time well spent with your child:

• Use give and take conversation instead gesture’s and pointing when talking to your child talk in sentences.
• Set aside regular times to read perhaps at your child’s bedtime.
• Read and spell everything you see signs, labels, this expands your child’s vocabulary consistently present new words to your child to help expand their vocabulary.

Labeling Activity

The more different experiences you share with your child

• Such as trips to the zoo
• Going for walks.
• Shopping

The more opportunities you are going to have for word labels feelings and experiences.
Understanding Relationships Activity

Understanding relationships like cause and effect. “Pop-up- toys!”

• Ask questions like, “What would happen if I pressed this button?”
• If you get an incorrect response, you can then model the correct response.
• Help your child reason through the problems and ideas.

Understanding Relationships Activity

To teach concepts, devise simple games..

“Put the ball under the chair” or “Put it beside the chair.”

More Examples:
• Between
• 2. Over
• 3. Outside
• 4. Before
• 5. Beginning
• Around
• Behind
• Next
• Least
• Up
• Down

Following Multiple Directions Activity

Play Simon Says

Make a game of two and three step commands such as:

• Simon Say's. Touch the floor with your hands.
• Simon Say’s. Tap your shoulder
• Simon Say’s. Sit on the chair.

Take turns being Simon.

Teaching Pre-Language Skills Through Play


• Practice good manners you are your child's role model they will mimic what you do!
• Practice turn taking.
• Practice saying please and thank you.
• Watch what you say and how you react to everything they are always absorbing.
• Be careful of what is on the TV and on the computer or radio monkey see monkey do!

Understanding WH Questions

Who Questions

• Ask who questions about familiar people in the environment?

For Example:

• “Who is standing up?” or “Who is watching TV?”

Understanding WH Questions

When-Where Questions

• Present common objects from several categories.
• Ask a what-where question
• For Example: “When you are hungry, what do you what?”
• Help your child choose an item from a food category.

Understanding WH Questions

Teaching and Understanding WH Questions

• What Questions – For a child with autism an abstract concept is extremely difficult, while a concrete concept is more easily understood!

• Help your child choose the correct object.
• Present several common objects, such as a toothbrush, a comb, and a bar of soap.
• Ask your child simple what questions
For Example:

• “What do you wash with?”
• “What do you clean your teeth with?”

Understanding WH Questions Where Questions¬

• Place a few objects around the room while your child watches.
Ask where questions

For Examples: “Where is the ball?”

• Use pictures ask locations of objects found in the pictures have your child point to the ball

Teaching basic Pronouns

• These concepts are difficult to grasp because MY to your child will mean his or her own object.
• To the youngster “my” is something that belongs to him or her.
• To help your child understand, point to yourself as you say “Show me my shirt”
• Then when giving the directive, “Show me your shirt,” point to your child.
• Practice this with clothing, body parts, and possessions.

Teaching Basic Pronouns Basic Pronouns

• He, she, and they. ......A man is called he.
• A woman is called she.
• And several people are called they
• Use pictures- The first one showing a man, the second one showing a woman and the third one showing several people.
• They all must have one thing in common. (Like wearing pants).
• Give reminders (A woman is a she) and help your child make the association with the correct people. ( A clue- she is wearing purple pants.)

Play Games Lots of them

• Matching games
• Roll them dice and add
• Pick up sticks
• Barrel of Monkeys
• Go Fish
• Olds Maid
• Boggle jjr..
• Bingo
• Target games
• Squirt guns
• Lego’s
• Bed bugs
• Operation
• Slippery Snakes
• Oh Nuts
• Topple
• Construct Straws
• Don’t spill the beans
• Nuts and bolts set Games

More fun Learning

• Alphabet cereal- Put a few on the table put in ABC order
• Jello- Trace with glue letters on an index card sprinkle with Jello makes a great scratch and sniff!
• Counting- jelly beans than eat them yummy.
• Art projects draw a family portrait frame it and hang it up.
• String or bead design.

Pre-read Planting a Rainbow- Talk about Soil by: Angelia Webb

Make Dirt Ingredients:

• A small a package of Jello instant pudding
• 8oz. Cool Whip
• 16oz. Package of Oreo cookies
• Clear plastic cups
• Gummy worms

Prepare Pudding,, mix pudding with cool whip, crush cookies and put half into the pudding mixture,, spoon mixture into plastic cups and top with left over cookies and gummy worms. Yummo(::

Pre-read- Rosie’s Walk Talk about the story

• 2 cups of cheerios
• 1 cup of peanuts
• 1 half cup of sunflower seeds
• 1 half cup of raisins
• 1 cup of M&M’s
• Paper bags or cups
• Mix in a bowl stir gently and serve

Activities for Muscle Development/ Fine Motor

Using a vertical surface helps promote wrist/hand dexterity, as well as arm/shoulder development.

• Playing with magnets on the fridge
• Painting
• Coloring
• Peg boards
• Lite-Brite
• Magna Doodle

Activities for Muscle Development/ Fine Motor

Fine motor activities- using the fingers and smaller hand muscles

• Use Coins, Buttons, and Magnetic Bingo Chips.
• Try turning over the coins without bringing them to the end of the table.

Holding a few coins in one hand, try to insert them one at a time into a bank without dropping them.

Activities for Muscle Development/ Fine Motor

Fine motor- lacing activities

Lacing, these activities encourage the use of the smaller muscles in the hand.

• One can use commercial items or household items such as: cut straws, beads and fruit loops.
• Smaller lace tips and smaller holes are more difficult for a beginner;
you may want to use pipe cleaners and thick laces.

Activities for Muscle Development/ Fine Motor

Fine motor- “tactile” Helps with more awareness of the hand and fingers.

• Use shaving cream/crazy foam to draw on the finger painting, adding some sand is a different texture, color or finger paint on sand paper.

Another way to encourage hand development is wind up toys, nuts and bolt games.

Gross Motor Activities 3-4 Years Old

Practice gross motor activities-3 years of age

• Ride a tricycle
• Crawl though objects
• Catches a ball with arms extended outward
• Balance on one foot for a second
• Jumps from the bottom step with feet together
• Alternates feet going up stairs holding onto a railing
• Gets up from the floor with partial truck rotation

Gross Motor Activities 3-4 Years Old

Practice gross motor skills 4 years of age

• Walk with long swinging steps.
• Hops on toes with both feet.
• Balances on one foot for 2-5 seconds.
• Starts to ride a two wheeler with training wheels.
• Gallops.
• Catch's large ball with hands moving on accordance with the ball.
• Walks down/up stairs with alternate feet

Field Trips

• The zoo
• The airport
• Navy pier
• The Fire House
• The children's museum
• Have a puppet show

Go to see a parade or have your own –decorate your bikes and have a parade the more involved the better!

Remember education between home and school should be a partnership and learning should be fun and never stop!!