According to PubMed Health, autism is a developmental disorder that is present before the age of 3. People with autism have difficulty with social interactions and communication skills. There is no cure for autism, nor do scientists know the cause. However, there are many interventions that can help children with autism lead as high functioning a life as possible.
Children with autism have difficultly interacting with adults and children and are often withdrawn in social settings. Autistic children often avoid making eye contact with others, may not smile, treat others as objects and shows no empathy. Activities such as board games and card games teach autistic toddlers to take turns. Other group activities such as story time, group songs and play dates help to improve a toddler's social skills.
Cognitive development includes problem solving, processing information and thinking. Toddlers with autism may have difficulty with some of these skills, especially since their attention spans are shorter than a child without autism. Toddlers can work on expanding their attention span and learning cause and effect through playing with others, learning shapes, colors and playing memory games, reports BrightTots.com. Toddlers with autism often have only a few activities that they enjoy doing; however, it is important to encourage your toddler to try new activities.
Communication problems in toddlers with autism can range from mild to severe, reports authors Watson and Baranek. These symptoms may include only communicating with gestures and not words, developing language slowly or not at all and not pointing to objects, which toddlers should master within the first 14 months of life. Making a communication board with pictures of objects such as food, drink and toys will allow the toddler to point to what she is wanting.
Motor Skill Activities
Toddlers with autism may not have mastered some of the fine or gross motor skills. For examples, a toddler with autism may run with a limp or have trouble riding a tricycle or four-wheeler that is geared toward her age. Fine motor skills may be impacted by autism such as self feeding, brushing teeth or brushing hair. Occupational therapists can work with toddlers on their motor skills.