- Dr. Steven Farmer
I recently read an article called, "The Benefits of Outdoor Activities for Children with Autism." In this article, the authors interviewed special education teachers, volunteers, and parents of children with autism. Based on analyzing these interviews, the authors concluded that the parents, volunteers, and teachers believed spending time outdoors and doing outdoor activities had seven main benefits for the children with autism: improvements in communication, interaction, physical activity, emotion, cognition, and sensory sensitivity. The article is interesting, and you can read it by clicking here.
I haven't seen much research strictly on the benefits of being outside or in nature, as most studies I found focused on social skills during structured outdoor activities, such as the research listed below. These studies are great, but I'm interested in you have any tips for getting your child or students connected with nature via gardening, birdwatching, etc. Please feel free to share in the comments. I would like to write a future blog post with your tips, so any ideas you have are much appreciated. Thanks and Happy Earth Day!
Some Research on Structured Outdoor Activities:
- Using Embedded Music Therapy Interventions to Support Outdoor Play of Young Children with Autism in an Inclusive Community-Based Child Care Program
- I Wanna Play Too: Factors Related to Changes in Social Behavior for Children With and Without Autism Spectrum Disorder After Implementation of a Structured Outdoor Play Curriculum
Earth Day Activities (add a link to your activity - free or for sale - in the comments and I'll add it here!)
Holiday Theme Units: Earth Day
Search for "Earth Day Autism" on TeachersPayTeachers