One of the key challenges presented by autism is finding ways to keep people with autism involved with their families and the community. Many autistic individuals tend to seek solitude and engage in individual activities rather than activities that require interaction with a group of people. This tendency may be especially pronounced with children. Group activities such as board games, camping trips, and participation in musical groups all foster the development of social skills. They are also instrumental ways to help people with autism increase their level of independence and become integrated into a community.
<strong>Participation in Board Games</strong>
Board games that require the participation of multiple people can provide enjoyment while strengthening the social skills of people with autism. Playing a board game requires interaction with other people and can aid in the development of communication skills and counting skills. Board games also teach autistic individuals how to take turns and follow a set of rules. Finally, board games can help introduce autistic individuals to the basic concepts of planning, winning and losing.
<strong>Joining a Musical Group</strong>
Most schools, churches and universities offer a plethora of opportunities for people to participate in music-centered activities. Many cities are even host to musical groups that were specifically founded for people with autism. Participation in a musical ensemble requires interaction with peers and encourages autistic children and adults to strive to reach a common goal through regular practice. Finally, the successful participation in a choir or band performance can also help to raise the self-esteem of people with autism.
<strong>Participation in a Camping Trip</strong>
Camping trips are a wonderful way for people with autism to learn about nature and the environment. Moreover, they provide an enjoyable means through which autistic adults and children can practice planning and basic survival skills. Many people with autism tend to be homebodies who prefer the familiarity of their homes and regular routines. A camping trip provides valuable skill-training on packing for an outing, food selection and coping with the natural elements. When choosing a campsite for children with autism, it is especially important to select a secure site that is family friendly.
<strong>Choosing The Best Group Activity</strong>
When deciding what type of group activity would be best for an autistic person, there are several key factors to consider. Among the most important of these are the individual’s personal interests and degree of impairment. For instance participation in a choir group will likely not be beneficial or enjoyable to an autistic adult who is mute and a camping trip may not be the best choice for an autistic child with hylophobia. By choosing a group activity that is compatible with the autistic person’s level of functioning, you are helping that person take another step toward integration into the community.