Fidget Spinners Benefit Children With Autism

Fidget Spinners or “hand spinners” had become a popular craze nowadays. People of different ages, gender and race play with them doing different kinds of spins and tricks for fun and enjoyment.

Do you know that the person who originally invented these fidget spinners is a mom from Orlando, Florida? Her intention was to promote peace after she saw young boys throwing rocks at police officers in Israel. She wanted to find a way to distract young kids and give them something soothing to release pent-up energy (Credit Source: New York Post ) So, therefore, it acts as a relief to people who suffer from anxiety and ADHD.

Fidget spinners could also benefit children with autism because it helped my son to focus thus lessening his sensory issues. He told me that it makes him happy every time he uses it because of its spinning motion. It reminded him of a fan that produces a soft sound every time it spins. He also likes the colorful light features that come out with it because it’s beautiful and soothing to see. These are the benefits that my son got from playing fidget spinners.

fidget spinners
Fig.1 My son’s fidget spinner
Fidget spinners
Fig. 2 Colorful lights that change colors

Other benefits of fidget spinners for children with autism:

  • It helps improve concentration because it helps calms the brain down.
  • It acts as a stress buster for those who suffer from stress and anxiety.
  • It addresses their sensory issues when it comes to different things that distract their attention because they are focusing on what they are currently doing instead of their surroundings.
  • It is a creative form of “stimming” or repetitive behavior.
  • It helps with fine motor skill development particularly pincer grasp which strengthens the muscles of the fingers.
  • It is a great way to bond with your child if you will also join him in playing.

These are all the benefits that children with autism could get by playing fidget spinners.

 The video below demonstrates how fidget spinners benefit children with autism.

Although fidget spinners have lots of advantages to children with autism, they are now being banned from most schools nowadays. The reason is that it causes a distraction to other learners in mainstream schools. Many pupils are bringing different kinds of fidget spinners which they play and spin during class sessions. It distracts their attention instead of helping them to focus on their learning. Children treat it like a gadget which they could bring anywhere and anytime they want.

This unruly behavior has caught the attention of teachers from primary schools, who proposed the banning of fidget spinners in schools.

So, fidget spinners also have its disadvantages when it comes to learning but I think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages especially to children with autism. Do you agree?

Please tell me what you think by leaving your comments below. I love to hear your views about it. Thank you!

 

How Shakespearean Drama Boosted my Son’s Social Skills

What is Shakespearean Drama?

Shakespearean Drama is a drama play written by William Shakespeare. He is an English poet, playwright, and actor noted as one of the greatest writers in the English language.

His drama plays are classified into three genres, namely tragedy, history, and comedy. Most of them appeared in print as a series of quartos, which are smaller, and half the size of a book. They are translated into different languages and continually being performed all around the world.

Among his famous tragedy plays are Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello and King Lear. Some of his famous comedy plays include The First Folio, Merchant of Venice, The Tempest and Twelfth Night. And lastly, his history plays includes Richard III and Henry V.  ( Credits from Wikipedia Shakespeare’s plays )

How does Shakespearean Drama help boost the social skills of children with autism?

Shakespearean Drama helps boost the social skills of autistic children in a variety of ways. It is effective, as any other therapeutic approaches for children with autism. In fact, participating in a drama play like Shakespearean drama is like having a therapy itself.

It is a combination of all of the following therapeutic approaches:

Speech and Language

Autistic verbal children are taught to speak their lines in English for a particular Shakespearean drama play utilizing the rhythm of the iambic pentameter.

Communication and Social Interaction

Verbal and non-verbal autistic children are both taught to communicate and socially express their emotions through imitating and acting out facial expressions of a student actor or mentor in a play. These will help verbal and non-verbal autistic children to identify and understand better the emotions of other people. These will also enable them to react appropriately in certain situations.

Behavioral

 Autistic children who are verbal are taught to concentrate and know their lines through constant repetition and memorization. They are also taught how to take turns through learning their scenes and the particular person whom they have to follow next.

Sensory and Gross Motor

Autistic children are taught proper body space and body language through different body motions including hand gestures and feet movements.

These are the ways on how autistic children can boost their social skills. Some of the techniques are based on Kelly Hunter’s Hunter Heartbeat Method, which helped many autistic children progress socially.

Henry V Drama Performance

felt the excitement inside me the moment I heard that it was time for my son’s school to perform in the Shakespeare School Festival drama play. Their Shakespeare drama play is entitled Henry V.

I was excited and at the same time nervous for it will be the first time for John to perform in front of an audience. The performance was held in Arts Depot, Finchley last  25th of November. I bought three tickets for my husband, my little daughter and myself.

My son has been practicing his performance at home and every Monday afternoons at school for almost a month. He told me that he has to memorize two lines in the script, which was quite easy to remember as long as he won’t feel nervous on the day of his performance.

His role was Montjoy, the French Herald who delivers messages to King Henry V.  I saw him practiced his lines at home without body movements and facial expressions.

But he was totally different on the actual day of his performance. I saw him interact socially with his peers with full body movements, eye contact, and facial expressions. He knew his lines and the time for his turn to speak. He was a totally different person on stage.

I felt his excitement to act and to internalize the character of Montjoy. Although a bit nervous, he managed to deliver the message to King Henry V in a high tone, which was enough for all of us to hear.

The battle scenes were done gracefully in slow motion. John’s body movements were synchronous with the background music.

John did his best and made us all proud. He proved to himself that he could act and blend well with his peers.

He enjoyed every bit of their performance and was looking forward to joining again for another Shakespearean drama play next year.

If you want to boost the social skills of your autistic child, try to enroll him in a Shakespearean drama club. You would be surprised of how fast your child could progress. And if you are looking for a wonderful book that will give you ideas on how to apply  Shakespearean drama by the use of sensory games to help your autistic child, you may want to buy Shakespeare’s Heartbeat.

Hope you find this post on how Shakespearean Drama boosted my son’s social skills useful. If you have any questions, suggestions, and recommendations, please feel free to leave your comments below.

Adel 🙂

 

 

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