How trains can have an impact on autistic children?
Researchers have long known that autistic children are drawn to trains. Many individuals on the spectrum are attracted to trains for a variety of reasons. As a parent of an autistic child, you may find that this hobby is both educational and therapeutic for your child. Here are five ways that trains can have a positive impact on your autistic child and how you can support this interest.
Appels to need for predictability
In addition to the actual train, the fact that they run on complex schedules appeals to kids with autism who may show an interest in predictability. These schedules also feed into the desire that autistic children have to memorize numbers and other types of information.
Being able to recite back schedules from memory will bring your autistic child a sense of accomplishment. This can be a significant gateway to unlocking different ways for your child to learn more about the world around them. As a parent, you can do your part to unlock this desire to learn by encouraging their interest in trains and their intricate schedules.
Trains lend themselves to categorization and movement
Anyone who has ever spent a considerable amount of time with an autistic child knows that they are drawn to ways that they can categorize items. Trains are easily sorted by type, model, and color. Being able to sort trains into these categories make them an attractive hobby for autistic children.
Giving your children plenty of trains to play with will fulfill this need for categorization for them. Additionally, children with autism also often display a sensory need to watch spinning objects. Because of this, it is no surprise that these children may be drawn to the spinning wheels on a train.
Incorporating trains into your child’s life
While playing with toy trains is an obvious way to allow your autistic child to explore this wonder, you are not limited to just giving them toy trains for inspiration. There is an abundance of additional ways that you can incorporate trains into your child’s life.
To support the positive connection between autism and trains, you may want to consider buying your child a set of train DVDs. They will delight in being able to watch these features at their own convenience. Do not surprised if they watch the same DVD over and over. This is a normal habit of a child with autism. You may also want to look into visiting a train museum or exhibit to stimulate this interest and give your child a healthy outlet.
Trains provide a lifetime of fascination
One of the most prominent ways that trains can have a positive impact on an autistic child is that it is a hobby that can stay with them as they grow and mature. Young children may be drawn to the animation and fun of Thomas the Train.
Older children will be able to continue their interests with trains by playing with more complex models. This is also a good time to begin planning family trips to visit famous train stations or transportation museums. By encouraging this train hobby, you will be giving your autistic child an outlet for years to come.
Gives them a social outlet
It is a well-known fact that autistic children often have significant challenges with connecting with others on a social level. However, you may be able to use their passions for trains as a social outlet.
This is especially helpful if you are able to connect your child with a peer who also shows an interest in trains. It is natural to want to talk with others about your passion. While your child may shy away from social interactions in normal situations, their passion for trains may be just what they need to step out of their comfort zone and connect with others in new ways.
Rather than fight the need of your autistic child to surround themselves with trains, you should instead lean into this passion. By using it as a way to appeal to their unique needs and personality traits, you will be able to reach and connect with your autistic child on more meaningful levels.