Why should you buy an aquarium for your child with autism? There are at least 7 benefits!
1. Your child will be proud to have a pet.
Having a pet can be a wonderful source of pride. In order to build your child’s positive self-esteem, it is really important that he or she have things to be proud of. Would you buy an aquarium for your child with autism?
2. Watching the fish swim around the aquarium has a calming effect on children with autism (and the adults who take care of them!).
At my learning center, one of our favorite ways to take a pause and calm down is to go look at the fish! The kids work in their progress nooks and take mini breaks to have a fun pause in front of the aquarium!
3. You can use build your child’s vocabulary through taking care of the fish and cleaning the aquarium together.
In addition to the list of essential toys and materials to have in your child’s playroom, a fish is a wonderful addition! You can teach your child the vocabulary related to the fish (“fish”, “gold”, “water”, “fishbowl”, etc.) and ask your child questions about the fish. Your child can ask you questions too!
4. Teaching a child with autism to take care of a goldfish is an educational functional activity.
One of our goals as parents and educators is to teach children with autism to engage in functional everyday activities that will help them live happier and more successful lives. A great way to do that is to build their functional activities repertoire. One of my favorite functional activities is taking care of a pet. Another really fun functional activity for children with autism is gardening.
5. Taking care of the fish in your aquarium will give you a very clear activity to add to your child’s visual schedule.
In order to take care of a fish and an aquarium, there are clear steps to take. These steps are pretty much the same steps you need to take each time you come to take care of the fish. This continuity and repetition is reassuring to a child with autism.
6. Watching the fish swim around the fish tank is a wonderful sensory activity for children with autism.
Back to our wonderful sensory breaks! Watching the fish swim around the aquarium is such a lovely sensory break for kids.
7. Taking care of the fish and your therapeutic aquarium, is a wonderful activity that you can do with your child.
This type of fun, sensory activity provides so much opportunity to connect with your child, communicate and have a lot of fun!
So have I convinced you to buy an aquarium for your child with autism? I hope so! Enjoy these wonderful moments with your child.
INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE ABOUT PETS AT THERAPY COMPANIONS?
I also wrote about our therapeutic aquarium in an article for the Autism Daily Newscast. You can read it here.
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