Obstacle course is a popular game for preschoolers. Children with autism can gain a lot in this activity as it provides a variety of sensory experiences. However, we need to keep some things in mind while doing this activity with autistic children.
The last activity on the obstacle course needs to be highly enjoyable for the child. This will serve as a motivator to go through the other activities.
Customizing the course
You may need to modify the obstacle course slightly for each child. This is because the activities should be fun and a little challenging, but not frustrating or intolerable for a child. If a child is very hypersensitive, you may want to exclude activities that include walking on rough surfaces. Another option is to decrease the time the child needs to do the activity. The child only has to walk two steps on the rough surface.
Processing sensory information:
Children with autism may need some time to process the sensory stimulation they are receiving. For this reason, the obstacle course should not have too many types of activities. Moreover, while the child is going from one obstacle to another, he or she may need a few seconds between changing activities. Allow the child to enjoy the activities and not hurry up.
Role of the teacher:
The role of the teacher during this activity is to be with the child and be very sensitive to the needs of the child. The teacher needs to encourage and support the child to attempt every obstacle, even if it seems difficult. The teacher can modify the course even during the game, depending on each child.