Most autistic kids do end up speaking. There is however a very small subset of children living with autism spectrum disorder who end up non-verbal. However, this does not mean that they are non-communicative. When your autistic child is nonverbal, do not fret out. Most probably, they are just pre-verbal and all they need are the best toys for nonverbal autism so as to develop verbal language. As a parent, you need to work hard to intervene in the behavioral therapy of your nonverbal autistic kid so that they are able to speak.
Top Toys for Kids with nonverbal Autism
- MKGames Feelings
- Melissa &Doug Farm Animals Puzzle with Sound Effects
- The See and Spell Game
- Leap frog spin
- Mickey Mouse Club House Color Adventure Ball Pit
- Calico Critters Caravan Camper, Cherry Cruiser and Koala Family Set
Befitting toys for such nonverbal autistic kids need to encourage social interaction, collaboration as well as nonverbal communications. The toy also need to encourage the child to express their feelings with confidence. In this post, we will be looking at the best toys for nonverbal autism.
Best Toys for Kids with NonVerbal AutismChildren with nonverbal autism are nothing but preverbal. As a parent or their teacher, you need to encourage the use of audio toys that encourage the child to imitate the sounds or toys that bring about social interaction. We look at the top three here
|Name of Toy||Features of the Toy||Purchase|
|MKGames Feelings||The game encourages identification of feelings as well as imitating them. It is played by the nonverbal kid and you. It encourages social interaction and speech||Buy on Amazon|
|Melissa &Doug Farm Animals Puzzle||The game has audio speakers that act as reward when the child places an animal in the right slot in the puzzle. After sometime, remove the batteries so that the kid makes the sounds themself.||Buy on Amazon|
|Melissa &Doug See and Spell Game||The game teaches the child how to spell different simple words||Buy on Amazon|
Things to Consider While buying toys for nonverbal autism
This game was designed by Meital Karni, an occupational therapist and Keren Strolovici, a special needs teacher. The two have been working for over 30 years with special needs children and having identified their therapy problems, it is a great game that will help your kid.
The game is all about matching pictures with different feelings. It encourages the kid to name different feelings, talk of moments when they had that feeling as well as imitating different facial expressions.
Features of the MKgames feelings
- The MKgames is made up of a pack of 20 stiff cards each bearing a photo of a person expressing a certain feeling. The players ought to identify the feeling, try to imitate it as well as discuss where to aptly apply it as well as recognize situations where they would use that feeling. For an autistic kid, this is a great game that encourages them to express their feelings with confidence and ease.
- The cards are large, sturdy and made with a thick cardboard so you are assured that they will last for long.
- The photos on the card are high quality images that are easily recognizable so your kid will not have a problem making out the feelings on the photos.
- The MK games is a fun way to learn as well as interact with your kid. You will have fun as the kid tries to compare the images with the faces of real people in your family.
What I loved about the MKGames Feelings
–The MkGames Feelings is indeed a fun way for your autistic kid to learn about feelings as well as identify non verbal expressions in other people so as to interact in a better way with them.
–Designed by people who have worked with kids with special needs, this is indeed a great game for your non-verbal autistic child and after using it, I give it my unreserved approval.
–The game encourages collaboration with other kids or with you the parent which is something great for autistic kids who tend to be loners.
Cons of the MkGames
- There were complaints that the pictures were rather too small for some kids to clearly identify.
- The cards only bear white faces so for the African-American kid or one of Asian origin, they might feel removed from the game since they do not see people of their skin color.
- The cards did not bear the name of the feeling expressed and one might have a problem in exactly naming each feeling.
Melissa &Doug Farm Animals Puzzle with Sound Effects
Autistic kids love solving puzzles. In fact they seem to have an innate knack for solving puzzles. What better way to irrigate this knack for puzzle solving than getting your nonverbal autistic kid the Melissa &Doug Farm Animals Puzzle. The Melissa &Doug Farm Animals Puzzle is structured that the kid is supposed to fit all the animals into the wooden block and once they rightfully do so, a sound effect mimicking the animal fitted sounds off.
The puzzle game is a great way to encourage your kid have better fine motor skills, identify sounds of animals as well as focus on the game. The Melissa &Doug Farm Animals Puzzle is colorful and great in creating imagination, hands-on skills on the child.
What we loved about the Melissa &Doug Farm Animals Puzzle
- The autistic kids that I got this game for were from the village farms and they were really quick in identifying the different animals and got really excited that after fitting the animals correctly, they got a reward when the different animals made their sounds.
- The game is great in bettering the fine motor skills of the child as well as encouraging creativity and problem solving skills.
- It is colorful and exciting to the young problem solvers. It encourages hand-eye coordination as well as social skills.
Cons of the Melissa &Doug Animal Farm Puzzle
- Despite the ingenous idea, the puzzle has technical problems. One of the kids found out that to get the sounds, all they have to do is wave their fingers on the magnetic piece and oops, the sound goes off without them having to place any animal in the puzzle places.
- It would randomly make sounds even at night when no one was working on it. Really creepy.
- One has to buy batteries since it does not come with them.
The See and Spell Game
What better way to teach your nonverbal autistic kid how to speak than the see and spell toy game by Melissa &Doug. The 50 lettered board helps the kid match letters with animals so that they are able to spell them out, sight-reading as well as language skills. Each of the animals need to be spelt out and it is not too hard for a 4 year old to spell out cow, fish, pig and so on.
The board will also teach your kid fine motor skills since it is a puzzle that needs to be filled. The letters as well as the animals are colorful and therefore will be great eye-candy for your 4 year old kid.
What we loved about the See and Spell Game by Melissa &Doug
- I have fallen in love with the Melissa and Doug company for their dedication in teaching kids language skills as well as fine motor skills. They deserve an award for the work they are doing and the See and Spell game was no exception in helping my kids learn spelling, sight-reading as well as solving puzzles with their hands.
- Very appealing colors that will have your kids hooked to the game.
- It encourages social interaction since after I bought it, I found that some of the autistic kids were willing to ask for help in filling it out.
What we did not like about the see and spell toy game
- There were letter mismatches when the board game was shipped. This would prove detrimental to kids learning how to spell. For example, the cow and pig pictures were mismatched with the wrong words.
Leap frog spin
Have your kid learn the alphabet and sing along to the music of the Leap frog spin toy. From a child educator’s viewpoint, the toy is engaging, eye-catching as well as educative as it teaches your kid on the different letters on the alphabet, music as well as animals. A nonverbal kid will with time want to imitate the song and therefore communicate in the process.
Once the kid has learnt all the alphabets, it is advisable to remove the batteries or speakers so that the kid can say the alphabet with every spin.
Pros of the toy
- Shiny engaging lights that excite the child and keep them glued to it
- Have the kid learn alphabets in a fun way that will not bore them
- Other than sound skills, it will help the kiddo develop fine motor skills as they press on buttons and enjoy the ball spin
- Educates the child on animals, letters and music.
Cons of the toy
- The plastic was rather too feeble and when irritated, the child might smash it on the wall breaking it into tiny pieces.
- The spinner keeps landing on a specific number of letters such as ‘u’, ‘I’, ‘m’ and never lands on some of the letters
Mickey Mouse Club House Color Adventure Ball Pit
A game that encourages social interaction and is also visually engaging, the inflatable Mickey mouse will first intrigue you because it is big enough as well as colorful. With a load of beautifully colored balls, big kids will be able to throw the balls at the top and watch them as they go down the spiral inflated tubings. Small kids can sit down and enjoy the show as well as pass balls to their big siblings.
What we loved about it
- Visually engaging
- Encourages social interaction as kids have to help each other fill up the top of the tubing with balls
- Very colorful and big enough
What we did not like about it
- There were complaints that some people got their balls deflated
- The balls that are shipped to you are too few to spark interest in a child.
Calico Critters Caravan Camper, Cherry Cruiser and Koala Family Set
Though a little bit expensive for the low income shopper, this calico critters camper, cherry cruiser and koala family set will foster family and friendship values in your child. Have them get the feel of camping as well as spending time together as a family. Fostering imaginative play, the set will help your autistic child embrace the value of family, friendship as well as having fun together.
What we loved about the set
- Encourages imaginative play
- Fosters the values of friendship and family
- Big enough to accommodate a group of kids
- Fosters social interaction
What we did not like about it
- Rather expensive for the low income buyer
Wrap-Up on Best Toys for Nonverbal Autism
Having looked at the above toys, you now know what play things to buy when your child is pre-verbal and you are working to encourage them to speak out. Other than playing with the toys, you need to encourage them in using gestures as well as making responses even if they are one-word answers and rare in coming.
Though all the toys that we have listed above have batteries to run and make sounds, you ought to remove the batteries after sometimes so that the child can mimic the sounds. This way, they will slowly move out from being preverbal to being fully verbal and communicative.
Technology gadgets such as smartphones, TV, ipads and iphones as they might seem appealing and great for play with your kids and to afford you some quiet time as the kid is playing along should be avoided at all costs for kids below 2 years. The WHO states that kids between 2 to 5 years should have at most 1 hour of screen time, that is if that is absolutely necessary for them to have the screen time.