Because 99% of the stuff in a toy store isn’t really made with the learning needs of autistic children in mind (not likely gonna see “For reading levels 6 and up and speech levels 1 and up!” on a toy) and because there’s no telling what the J-Man will play with and what he won’t, I’ve started making ‘folder games’.
These are just very cheap learning games made from manila folders, velcro dots, and other stuff that you can for the most part find around the house, or for almost no cost at the store. And when you’re done with them, you can just fold them up and slide them on a shelf.
The ones I’ve made lately center on matching words with objects (e.g. a square of one color, then he puts the word under it – or vice-versa) with some number and letter matching thrown in too. This seems like a big leap in mental effort for him, so his attention span is lower. But that’s just how he normally is with newer challenges, so it’s nothing unusual. He perseveres and soon amazes us with the things he can learn.
So I’d like to show you three examples of these folder games. I think the entire cost for these three activities took less than $2 out of the supply budget plus the time it took us to make them. And as a bonus, the folders themselves are reusable for countless other activities I haven’t finished yet.
This is just a manila folder with eight velcro dots stuck in it – four for the color squares, which are made from construction paper – and four for the label strips, which I printed off my computer as sheets of about 20 words each and then cut them out. All of these things are laminated with matching velcro dots on the back so they’ll stick to the folder.