- 25August 2018
Every 1 of 59 children in the US is affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder. This can severely impact a child’s social skills and interfere with their natural developmental process.
After-school programs are designed especially for children with autism to help them connect, learn, and enjoy in a safe and fun environment. They are organized and led by a highly trained staff and have a number of therapeutic benefits for children who attend these.
Interestingly, after school programs have advantages not just for children, but for their parents too.
An inclusion-based after school environment centered on enhancing independent functional living and self-management skills of children with autism can be a great opportunity for them. After-school programs designed specifically for this purpose promote socialization, communication and self-directed choices amongst the kids through a number of techniques. These can include arts and crafts, music, audiovisual sources, life scenarios, recreational play, and homework assistance.
Research on integrated play groups has shown that the right amount of guidance can encourage kid-directed imaginative play and maximizes their developmental potential.
The key to success of these programs is participation. After-school programs are a great way to expand, explore and engage in new hobbies and skills which can help them connect with other children their age who may share the same interests they do.
This interactive nature of after school programs promotes friendship and provides them with a sense of belonging.
The range of activities also helps in improving the children’s self-confidence and self-esteem. This leads to a healthier social-emotional well-being amongst the kids who are able to better understand their own behavior and those of others around them.
Parents can also benefit from after school programs that can cater to their children’s needs. Like it would be in any other scenario, raising a child with autism is a full-time responsibility and can be quite challenging for parents, especially if one or both of them works for long hours during the day. They might not be able to provide the specialized form of care their child needs at home outside of school hours due to reasons beyond their control.
In cases like these, after school programs can be extremely helpful and even necessary for children with autism.
Through the carefully designed activities meant to stimulate growth and learning, they are able to progress with their developmental process under the guidance of trained professionals who can provide them with the attention and care they require. After-school programs can thus benefit parents and children alike, and provides a great learning environment for them.