When our insurance refused to pay for Lira’s occupational and speech therapy, I fought the system for three years. In the end, I had to give up and pay the bill, realizing that we would not be able to pay for professional services again. Letting Lira suffer through her developmental delays and social inadequacies, was not an option and I had to get creative.
While activities at home might not be a substitution for professional therapy, the internet offers an amazing variety of resources to parents with children diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, and more than once I have had therapists tell me that I should consider their line of work.
If you are looking for home therapy solutions for motor skills, social skills, and speech/language development, please consider this list of blogs, books, and videos as an Ultimate Guide to Autism Home Therapy Resources.
Autism Therapy Blogs
In my personal opinion, a great blog to follow for therapy ideas includes a balanced amount of reviews, research and hands-on activities.
Ashi’s Gift ~ Written by a mother who has homeschooled and provided the therapy for her daughter, this blog is a true encouragement and provides an amazing variety of ideas to parents with children on the Autism Spectrum.
Talk It Up ~ Authored by a Speech-Language Pathologist, Talk It Up offers practical suggestions for increasing language development, focusing on 1st through 8th grades.
The Motor Story ~ While the Motor Story blog focuses primarily on gross motor development, they also have suggestions for refining fine motor skills, sensory processing and integration, and other related topics.
Pediatric Occupational Therapy Services ~ Even though this website is not set up like a traditional blog, they have a wonderful list of ideas listed in the right sidebar of their page. The list is updated regularly.
Miss Mancy’s Blog ~ The author is a Pediatric OT and offers resources for crafts and activities that build fine motor, gross motor, and sensory skills. Her suggestions involve items you probably already have in your home but she also links to her favorites within a user-friendly store which is powered by Amazon so you can trust the prices are great.
Pediatric Occupational Therapy Tips ~ Dr. Anne Zachry is a pediatric occupational therapist and offers a broad range of therapeutic ideas ranging from auditory processing to visual perception and everything in between.
Your Therapy Source ~ A blog for pediatric occupational and physical therapist, Your Therapy Source offers a little bit of everything a parent of a child on the Spectrum could need and even has free printable therapy activities available on their main website.
MamaOT ~ A mother and a registered/licensed occupational therapist, MamaOT offers kid-oriented ideas for sensory play, motor skills, toy recommendations and more. She also has an AMAZING Pinterest board of therapy ideas.
Autism and More ~ Packed with activities and teaching suggestions, Autism and More offers activity ideas for developing basic hygiene, sensory therapy, motor skills, and more.
Therapy Fun Zone ~ Just the look of this blog makes me excited to try some of this awesome activities. With a store to easily access the items they use, this blog features physical and occupational therapy ideas that a really fun.
Embrace Your Chaos ~ This highly recommended blog (on just about every list I could find) is authored by an occupational therapist who focuses on play as a way to encourage your child’s development.
Notes from a Pediatric Occupational Therapist ~ Abby is a pediatric occupational therapist who recently opened her blog for guest posts from parents who want to share their thoughts about therapy and how they implement therapeutic strategies at home.
The Recycling Occupational Therapist ~ On this blog, you will learn how to use items that you would ordinarily toss in the trash to create wonderful therapy activities for your children and find detailed reviews for products and books.
horseot ~ Shake off the notion that this blog is about horses. Hippotherapy is actually a form of therapy which uses the characteristics of a horse’s movements as a guide for physical, occupational and speech therapy ideas, but you do not need a horse to utilize the activities at horseot.
Milestone Mom ~ Even though this blog is not directly focused on therapy, she has categories for Autism, ADHD, and Sensory Integration and offers detailed ideas for reaching developmental stages.
Occupational Therapy for Children ~ If you are looking for details about a particular aspect of a special need, I think this blog would be very helpful. Even though it might not offer a great number of hands-on activities, the articles show a lot of depth and are highly educational.
Thriving in School ~ A group of school therapists blog about useful apps as well as how to break down activities to help children accomplish more without needing help.
Therapy Street for Kids ~ I wish I had known about this website when we were trying to deal with Lira’s problem crossing her midline. This occupational therapy blog has an easy-to-navigate category bar that divides activities by the focal problem.
Therapy at Home Activities
Pinterest has certainly made therapy activities more accessible. Just one night at the computer can give you a tremendous list of ideas. Here are a few of my favorites from non-therapy blogs:
1. Bead Mazes at Teach Preschool ~ This activity would not only provide a creative outlet, I think it would be an excellent way to improve fine motor and the pincer grip.
2. Hand Clapping Games from Fun Clapping ~ If your child loves to clap, why not use this resource to channel those tendencies? Also has a great social aspect.
3, Dropper Paintings from Pickle Bums ~ What a fabulous way to help that pincer grip… not to mention fun!
4. Homemade Stress Balls at from Tantrums to Treasure Hunts ~ Whether your child needs to fidget or just needs to cool down, homemade stress balls are an easy solution.
5. Milk Jug Toss from Creative Connections for Kids ~ If your child is having trouble with gross motor skills, this would be an excellent way to build upper body muscles and had-eye coordination.
6. Cave of Stars from Play at Home Mom ~ Perfect for the child who craves visual stimulation. You could even use blinking lights.
7. Walk the Line at Hands On We Grow ~ If balance is a problem, this would be an excellent activity to help focus and walking.
Autism Therapy Books
I have thumbed through more than a few books about Autism and Aspergers and therapy… just as I am sure you have. However, these are the books in my personal library that I think everyone needs:
The flip book includes 50 fabulous ideas for sensory integration disguised as fun. For instance, roll your child up in a heavy blanket and have them pretend to be a hot dog. Let the child imagine you are putting on the mustard or ketchup and you gently squeeze down the sides of the blanket.
I adore this book. The first time I saw it was on Amazon and decided to search for it at the library. Once I had it in our home, I found that it was too valuable a resource not to keep. (I didn’t steal the copy from the library! I have my own.) Packed with practical advice and easy ways to help your child with sensory integration, communication and language, behavior, daily living, social skills, and education, this book is a MUST.
Whether you homeschool your child or just need a way to boost literacy after school, you will love the applications throughout this book and on the free CD of printables.
A box of developmentally based activity cards, these ideas are fun and flexible. Each card is color-coded to help you locate activities targeted to your child’s level of development.
I think I needed this book more than any other. If you want to get inside your child’s head and understand how to help them adapt to the world, it is a worthy investment. And, just in case you were wondering, I think Chapter 29 (Dealing with Mistakes and Failures) was written just for our family.
Other highly-recommended books:
- Motivate to Communicate!: 300 Games and Activities for Your Child with Autism
- Cutting-Edge Therapies for Autism: Fully Updated Edition
- Early Intervention Games: Fun, Joyful Ways to Develop Social and Motor Skills in Children with Autism Spectrum or Sensory Processing Disorders
- A Work in Progress: Behavior Management Strategies and a Curriculum for Intensive Behavioral Treatment of Autism
YouTube Channels to Follow
Videos can really help encourage you in pursuit of supplying your child with therapy at home. A quick search for “occupational therapy activities” or “autism therapy at home” or any particular topics for which you need ideas can turn up pages of videos.
Here are a few channels to follow for therapy ideas and an example of what you will see on their pages:
Pinterest Boards to Follow
As I mentioned earlier, Pinterest makes information on therapies easily accessible. I love that! However, to avoid spending hours looking for the information you need, I recommend following these amazing boards and letting the information come to you:
- Autism Therapy at Home (One of my boards on Pinterest)
- The Sensory Spectrum
- Occupational Therapy at Home
- Therapy Ideas for Home
- Play Therapy at Home
- ABA Therapy/Autism
Looking for more Sensory Processing ideas?
Visit my friend, Jennifer Janes, for The Ultimate Guide to Sensory Integration Activities.