It can be a very challenging decision to choose a proper toy for a child on the autism spectrum. Especially if you consider how sensitive these children are towards any kind of stimulus around them compared to their neurotypical peers. These stimuli could be anything you can think of such as light, sound, smell, and even taste, it can be very difficult as well. They perceive the world differently than how we do. Since we do not experience the world in the same way as them, it is important to take a consultancy from an expert.
So, when it comes to speech development and choosing a toy for speech therapy, the process is the same. There are many toys in order to be used for speech development available on the market. They are mostly used during speech therapy sessions but as a primary caregiver, you can use them at home for the same purpose. However, you always need to keep in mind that the important point is to find the proper toy for the children’s speech development level or speech delay.
It is important to note that any toy can be used in speech therapy, as long as it is appropriate for the child’s age and skill level and is used in a way that supports their individual needs and goals. A licensed speech therapist can help determine which toys and activities would be most beneficial for a particular child.
- Puzzles: Puzzles can help improve problem-solving and language skills, as children learn to communicate and describe the pieces they are looking for.
- Board games: They can be very helpful to teach turn-taking, promoting social interaction, and develop language skills.
- Picture cards: They are good for helping children with autism in order to teach new words and practice using them in phrases and sentences. Apart from autism, they can also be used to help children with social communication by teaching them to identify emotions and facial expressions.
- Storybooks: They are very practical to teach new vocabulary, helpful in practicing listening comprehension, and working on narrative skills. It will be more beneficial if you choose books with clear pictures and simple text. They would be more appropriate for your child’s reading level probably.
- Communication devices: There are many communication devices available that can help children with autism who struggle with speech. These devices may include different buttons with different purposes. As an example, these buttons could be used for playing pre-recorded messages that you record before for your child to listen to.
- Play-Doh: It is actually a fun way to work on fine motor skills. In time, this will be helpful for speech development. These children can practice shaping the dough into shapes, or even letters, numbers, and objects.
- Musical instruments: Musical instruments can help with auditory processing and rhythm. In this way, these instruments provide a fun and engaging way to develop and practice language skills.
- Oral motor toys: These toys are designed in order to strengthen the muscles in the mouth, tongue, and jaw as the name implied. For example, chewing tubes, vibrating teethers, and straw kits can be very helpful for children on the autism spectrum who struggle with speech.
You need to be aware of the fact that every child on the autism spectrum is unique. It means that if something works for one child may not work for another one. The best and most beneficial way in terms of finding the proper toy and method is to work with a speech therapist. That therapist can help you in terms of identifying the toys and tools that will be most effective for your child and his/her individual needs.
Importance of Speech Therapy Toys in Autism
Speech toys can be important tools for children with autism, as they are helpful in promoting communication, socialization, and language development. Here are some specific ways that speech toys can be beneficial for children with autism down below as well:
- Encouraging communication: Many children with autism have difficulties communicating with other people around them. For example, talking dolls or puppets as speech toys can provide a fun and engaging way for children to practice speaking and interacting with others.
- Developing language skills: Speech toys can help to develop their language skills. For example, toys that feature letters, numbers, or simple words can help children learn basic vocabulary and the basic structure of sentences.
- Improving socialization: Speech toys that encourage turn-taking or cooperative play can help children learn to interact with others in a positive and supportive way.
- Providing sensory stimulation: Many children with autism are sensitive to different types of sensory input around themselves which neurotypical people wouldn’t realize. Speech toys that make noise or have tactile elements can provide a soothing or stimulating sensory experience that leads those children to feel more comfortable and engaged.
Overall, speech toys can be a valuable tool for developing communication, enhancing language development, promoting socialization, and as well as sensory stimulation in children with autism. It is important to note, however, that each child on the spectrum are unique and they have different responses to different types of toys, so it is important to work with a professional to find the best one works according to their special needs. You can find some tips on how to use speech therapy toys effectively for children with autism:
- Choose the right toys: It is important to choose age-appropriate, engaging, and matching the child’s interests toys. For example, a child who loves animals might benefit the most from toys that feature different animal sounds.
- Set goals: Working with a speech therapist in order to set specific goals for the child’s speech and language development is important. For these goals, toys can be used to target these areas. For example, if the child is working on vocabulary development, you can choose a toy that features different objects or words to name.
- Provide guidance and support: Children with autism may need extra support and guidance. It is the same when it comes to using speech toys. You may need to offer simple instructions and prompts to help the child use the toy effectively. Providing positive reinforcement for their efforts also will be very effective for the process.
- Encourage turn-taking: Many speech therapy toys can be used to promote turn-taking and cooperative play. They are most helpful for developing their socialization skills. In this way, you can encourage the child to take turns using the toy with others and also provide guidance on how to interact with others around them positively and respectfully.
- Incorporate play-based learning: Speech therapy toys can be used to promote play-based learning, which can be a fun and engaging way for them to develop their speech and language skills. You can use these toys as a starting point for play-based activities that target specific goals.
- Use a variety of toys: Children with autism may benefit from a variety of speech therapy toys. So it is important to switch things up and introduce new toys regularly to your child. This can help keep the child engaged and motivated to continue practicing their speech and language skills.
Remember, every child with autism is unique, so it is important to work with a professional in order to develop a personalized plan for using speech therapy toys to support the child’s specific and important needs and goals.
Speech Therapy Toys for Toddlers with Autism
It is important to note that speech therapy toys should always be used under the guidance of a qualified speech-language pathologist (SLP). Because of the fact that they provide individualized therapy goals and strategies based on the unique needs of each child on the autism spectrum. Down below there are some examples of speech therapy toys that may be helpful for toddlers with autism:
- Picture Communication Cards: These cards typically feature pictures of common objects, activities, or emotions. They can be used to help toddlers learn to communicate through visual aids. They can be used for matching, sorting, and labeling. These activities are very helpful to build vocabulary and expressive language skills.
- Speech Sound Blocks: These blocks usually have pictures or symbols on them. Each of them represents different speech sounds. These sounds help toddlers to practice articulation and speech sound production. They can be even manipulated to create simple words or sentences. In this way, you can easily encourage verbal expression and speech clarity in your child.
- Interactive Storybooks: Interactive storybooks have buttons or touch-sensitive features. With the help of these features, you can produce sounds or music. Toddlers with autism engage in storytelling activities. These improve listening skills, comprehension, and language development, as well as encourage participation and engagement.
- Pretend Play Sets: These sets can be dollhouses, kitchen sets, or tool sets. They can facilitate imaginative play and social interaction while providing opportunities for practicing speech and language skills. These toys can be used to act out everyday activities and practice the daily language in context.
- Sensory Toys: These can be textured balls, fidget toys, or sensory bins. All can help toddlers with autism engage in sensory exploration and play, and contribute to their overall development. Speech and language development is a part of this development. Sensory toys provide tactile, visual, and auditory stimulation. You can use them to encourage language expression and social interaction with your toddler.
- Speech Therapy Apps: There are numerous speech therapy apps available on laptops, tablets, or smartphones. These apps often have interactive games, activities, and exercises that target various speech and language goals. These goals include articulation, vocabulary, and sentence structure.
Speech Therapy Toys for Teens with Autism
As always, it is important to work with a professional who can be a qualified speech-language pathologist (SLP) or a psychologist who can assess the individual needs of the person and provide appropriate speech therapy goals and strategies. These toys can be effective tools when used in conjunction with professional guidance and support. But down below there are some examples of speech therapy toys that may be helpful for teens with autism:
- Social Skills Board Games: There are board games available that focus on social skills, such as conversation starters, problem-solving, or emotional regulation. These games provide opportunities for teenagers with autism to practice social communication in a structured and enjoyable way. These games are very effective to improve some skills such as turn-taking, listening, and perspective-taking.
- Conversation Starter Cards: These cards contain prompts or questions to initiate conversations and encourage social interaction. They can cover a wide range of topics, from everyday activities to more complex social situations. They help to practice conversation skills, for example, initiating, maintaining, and ending conversations.
- Oral Motor Tools: They can be chewable jewelry, oral fidgets, or vibrating toothbrushes. These are used to provide sensory input and facilitate oral motor exercises for teenagers who have speech sound production difficulties or oral sensitivities. These tools also strengthen the muscles used for speech and improve articulation skills.
- Speech Therapy Apps: There are apps designed specifically for older children and teenagers with autism that focus on various speech and language goals. These goals can be arranging voice volume, fluency of what they say, or social communication. These designed apps often have engaging activities, videos, and exercises.
- Storytelling Kits: These kits include story cards, story prompts, and story cubes. All of them encourage them to create and share their own stories. They can also help improve narrative skills, creativity, and expressive language skills.
- Articulation Games: These games can be articulation puzzle sets or speech sound sorting activities. Specific speech sounds are targeted to learn that teenagers with autism may struggle with. These games provide practice for accurate speech sound production and discrimination.
- Social Skills Role-Play Sets: Role-play sets focusing on social skills. These skills can be conflict resolution, problem-solving, or assertiveness. In this way, they practice social interactions in a safe and structured environment. These sets even include props, scripts, or scenarios to be used for role-playing and social skills practice.
Speech Therapy Toys for Adults with Autism
Down below there are some examples of speech therapy toys you can find that may be helpful for adults with autism:
- Conversation Starter Cards: They include prompts or questions to be used to facilitate social interactions and improve communication skills. These cards can cover a variety of topics. These topics include everyday conversations to more complex social situations. These are very helpful for adults with autism to initiate, maintain, and participate in conversations.
- Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Devices: These devices can be communication boards, tablets with AAC apps, or speech-generating devices. They are helpful, especially for adults with autism who have limited or no verbal speech. These devices provide visual and auditory output for expressing their thoughts, ideas, needs, and even feelings.
- Speech Therapy Apps: There are numerous speech therapy apps available for smartphones or tablets. These apps focus on specific goals that you can choose accordingly. These goals can be articulation, voice volume, fluency, or social communication. These apps also provide engaging activities, videos, and exercises for self-directed practice.
- Oral Motor Tools: These toys can be chewable jewelry, vibrating toothbrushes, or tongue depressors. They can be used by adults with autism who have speech sound production difficulties in order to provide sensory input and facilitate oral motor exercises These tools strengthen the muscles in the mouth and jaw for speech and improve articulation skills.
- Social Skills Training Materials: They are social stories, social scripts, or social skills workbooks. They can be useful to improve social communication and interaction skills. These materials provide guidance, practice, and visual support for navigating social situations.
- Word Games and Puzzles: These can be crossword puzzles, word searches, or even Scrabble. They are very enjoyable and effective tools for improving vocabulary, word retrieval, and language skills. These games can be used for both solo play and in group settings. Either way, they promote communication and cognitive skills.
- Memory and Matching Games: These are memory cards, matching games, or Bingo. They are effective in improving memory, attention, and language skills. These games can be adapted easily to various skill levels and can be a fun way to practice language targets.
The Role of Parents in Autism Speech Therapy
Parents have a great impact and crucial role in order to be successful in speech therapy for individuals with autism. There are some specific ways below that parents can support their child’s speech therapy:
- Communicate regularly with the speech therapist or psychologist: It is important to keep in touch with your child’s speech therapist. You can provide regular updates on your child’s progress to understand the development of your child and any concerns or questions you may have as a parent. In this way, you can ensure that everyone is on the same page.
- Reinforce skills at home: You need to practice the skills and strategies at home. In this way, you can reinforce the learning and improve your child’s ability to use these skills in real-world situations.
- Encourage communication: It is important to encourage your child in a variety of settings and situations when they have proper communication with you or others. You need to provide opportunities for your child to practice using their speech and language skills. You can even offer positive reinforcement for their efforts.
- Model good communication skills: Children learn by example whether on the spectrum or not. So as a parent, you need to be sure to model good communication skills yourself. You can start by using clear and simple language, maintaining eye contact, and showing interest in what your child has to say.
- Be patient and supportive: Children on the spectrum always need extra time and support compared to their neurotypical peers in order to develop their skills. In this process, it is important to be patient, understand them, and be supportive. You need to celebrate and even award small successes.
Overall, parents’ contributions are very valuable during speech therapy. They need to work closely with the professionals in the field. And with their help, they need to learn how to practice at home, encourage communication, be a role model for communication, and support. As a parent, you need to be aware of the fact that your patience and support will be the most meaningful thing for your child’s speech therapy process.
QuTZ Toddler Toys, Autism Sensory Toys for Autistic Children, Learning Montessori Toys, Speech Therapy Toys, 224 Sight Words Talking Flash Cards
It is a very well-designed speech therapy consisting of 112 double-sided flashcards and a card reader. It is highly functional, easy to carry, and fun. These cards mainly cover 12 topics which are shapes, colors, animals, daily routine activities, vehicles, food, fruits, vegetables, clothes, nature, family members, and occupations. With the card reader, it comes with, children have an opportunity to repeat the sound. You need to place the card into the card reader and let it say the word on the card. Children will be able to make the connection between the picture and the sound. In the long run, they will recognize the object and say the name. In general, it allows children to enhance their cognitive ability, exercise hearing and build vocabulary. It is very important for children on the autism spectrum. It can be also considered a Montessori toy in order to keep children away from the screens. It is easily used in speech therapy sessions by therapists and at home by parents. It is highly recommended. https://www.amazon.com/QuTZ-Toddlers-Educational-Learning-Birthday/dp/B09B7YT5H9/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?keywords=speech%2Btherapy%2Btoys&qid=1680109370&sr=8-1-spons&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUE2OE4wUk1HRTJKSFYmZW5jcnlwdGVkSWQ9QTA5MzkyNzIzQ1VHV045Tkw3NUc5JmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTA4ODk3NjUyMldDVDJOSzdQMFRGJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfYXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ&th=1
LA·LA · LLAMA Social Emotional Game for Kids – Make Faces & Describe Feelings – Preschool Learning Activities Toy to Express Emotions
It is a very effective toy in order to develop speech and recognize emotions. It gives a great opportunity to teach children with autism about their feelings and emotions, and with this, they will learn how to express themselves and develop their speech skills. It enhances creativity as well. They can create different faces with different features. As a therapist or as a primary caregiver, you can create short stories with different emotions, make different faces to show those emotions, and make them understand the differences. There are 28 different expressions included. There are also illustrations for each emotion that show how to cope with those emotions. Apart from speech development and emoting recognition, these cards help to develop logical thinking, dexterity, and fine motor movements. They are made of high-quality material to be used for a long time. It is a highly convenient toy to purchase. https://www.amazon.com/%C2%B7-LLAMA-Emotions-Learning-Kids/dp/B0977F5XC7/ref=sr_1_2_sspa?keywords=speech+therapy+toys&qid=1680109370&sr=8-2-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUE2OE4wUk1HRTJKSFYmZW5jcnlwdGVkSWQ9QTA5MzkyNzIzQ1VHV045Tkw3NUc5JmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTAyNDU3MTkzMDlUNEs5U0pPUFcmd2lkZ2V0TmFtZT1zcF9hdGYmYWN0aW9uPWNsaWNrUmVkaXJlY3QmZG9Ob3RMb2dDbGljaz10cnVl
SkillEase Story Cues Skilled Sequencing Cards, Speech Therapy Materials, Social Skills Autism Game, ABA Therapy Materials, for Wh Questions and Articulation, Sentence Building and Picture Cards
These cards are highly effective for speech therapy for both children with autism and neurotypical children with speech delays. In addition to developing their speech and vocabulary, these cards are very functional and beneficial for critical thinking, picture description, detailing, making inferences, cause-and-effect relationships, and sequencing. It is easy to create stories with these cards and gives you an opportunity to ask wh- questions. There are 50 cards in total for 5 different stories. There is also a manual included to give therapists and parents directions. They are made of high-quality materials and the colors are vibrant to get children’s attention. It is a highly recommended set, especially by speech therapists. https://www.amazon.com/SkillEase-Sequence-Storytelling-Critical-Thinking/dp/B07W82PST9/ref=sr_1_3_sspa?keywords=speech+therapy+toys&qid=1680109370&sr=8-3-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUE2OE4wUk1HRTJKSFYmZW5jcnlwdGVkSWQ9QTA5MzkyNzIzQ1VHV045Tkw3NUc5JmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTA5OTA4MzIyVUtXUklGSENZUjlaJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfYXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==
iHarPro Busy Book for Kids, Montessori Toys, Autism Sensory Educational Toys, Preschool Activity Binder, and Early Learning Toys Book
It is a highly engaging and entertaining toy book to be used for speech therapies and vocabulary. There are 12 different themes to choose from according to your children’s preferences or moods. These themes are colors, letters, numbers, shapes, vehicles, puzzles, weather, planet, features of faces, fruits, and vegetables. It helps children in different developmental areas such as creating links between objects and names, logical thinking, color perception, speech and vocabulary, creativity, hand-eye coordination, and fine motor movements. It is also easy to carry so it will be your children’s best friend while traveling. https://www.amazon.com/Montessori-Toddlers-Educational-Preschool-Activity/dp/B0992B1LYN/ref=sr_1_4_sspa?keywords=speech+therapy+toys&qid=1680109370&sr=8-4-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUE2OE4wUk1HRTJKSFYmZW5jcnlwdGVkSWQ9QTA5MzkyNzIzQ1VHV045Tkw3NUc5JmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTA4NjExODIyNlRMVUdIODRVWkhaJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfYXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==
Free To Fly Toddler Learning Toys, Talking Flash Cards Speech Therapy Toys for Autism, Educational Toys Games
It is a perfectly designed toy to be used without an internet connection. Knowing that it is designed by the teacher gives comfort to parents to purchase. It is a perfect learning and speech therapy toy. There are 112 double-sided cards that include 224 sight words with 12 different themes. These themes are colors, shapes, animals, food, fruits, vegetables, daily routine activities, clothes and costumes, nature and weather, occupations, family members, and transportation. Each theme has a different number of cards. Children will be able to recognize objects, learn the words, and pronounce the words. Illustrations are highly colorful and the sounds are highly realistic to get children’s attention and to keep them focused. The only thing you need to do is place the card in the reader and let it pronounce the object. There are different sound levels to adjust your child’s sensitivity level. It is also a fun and educational gift alternative by providing quality family time as well. https://www.amazon.com/Toddler-Learning-Toys-Year-Girls/dp/B0B49R8R51/ref=sr_1_6?keywords=speech%2Btherapy%2Btoys&qid=1680109370&sr=8-6&th=1
Special Supplies Phone Buddy Auditory Feedback Reading Phones for Classroom, Home Toy Phone Speech Therapy Communication Device for Kids and Adults, Accelerate Reading Fluency W/ 4 Pack Phonic Phones
It is a speech therapy communication device designed specifically for use in classrooms and at home. It is designed to be used by both adults and children, but it is especially useful for the speech and vocabulary development of children with autism. The main purpose of the device is to improve reading fluency. It offers a unique way to do this with the hint it provides. Even if you speak very softly towards the device, you will hear your voice back amplified thanks to its design. In this way, you can focus on words and pronunciation. Correct intonation in the right place can also be learned. It is very effective for children with speech and reading difficulties such as autism or dyslexia. It also helps develop their imagination. It comes with 4 different color devices. It is a great toy that is highly recommended by parents, teachers, and therapists. https://www.amazon.com/Special-Supplies-Classroom-Communication-Accelerate/dp/B0BPJV44LN/ref=sr_1_8?keywords=speech+therapy+toys&qid=1680109370&sr=8-8
ThinkPsych Picture Play Flash Cards for Toddlers -150 First Words Picture Cards for Speech Therapy – Autism Learning Materials & Speech Therapy Materials
It is a fun and easy way to teach your child to talk whether with autism or not. There are 150 cards with pictures that can be used for ABA therapy, speech therapy, special education, early intervention, and generally in kindergarten. With these cards, it becomes easier to teach your child matching, sorting, sequencing, and labeling. It is also possible to teach nouns, adjectives, words, and daily routine actions. They are definitely recommended by parents and professionals since also it is a highly affordable set. ThinkPsych Picture Play Flash Cards for Toddlers 1-2 Years -150 First Words Picture Cards for Speech Therapy – Preschool Language Learning Cards – Autism Learning Materials & Speech Therapy Materials (amazon.com)
Tiny People Kingdom Maggy Original Talking Hamster Plush Toy – Voice Repeating Furby Toys for Autism
It is one of the cutest speech therapy toys you can find on the market. You need to be careful that in the beginning, it could be very loud but over time it will be your child’s best friend. It repeats everything you said but in a funny voice to get the attention of the children. In this way, it encourages children to repeat and eventually will lead your children to talk. It is also made of soft material to let your children hug and make them eager to hold it all the time. Overall, it is definitely worth it. Maggy Original Talking Hamster Plush Toy – Repeats What You Say Speech Therapy Material Interactive Talking Cactus Toy, Hamster Gift Kids Minion Talking Voice Repeating Furby Toys for Autism (amazon.com)
hand2mind See My Feelings Mirror, Social Emotional Learning Activities, Play Therapy Toys, Autism Learning Materials, Kids Anxiety Relief, Anger Management Toys, Calm Down Corner Supplies
You might not think that it is a helpful toy for speech development but it is very beneficial since your children can observe themselves while talking and they can imitate themselves anytime they want. It becomes easy to teach them emotions, facial expressions, and pronunciations while talking. It can be said that it is a great helper in teaching emotions, empathy, and regulation. Apart from teaching these emotions to those children, these children can learn how to deal with these emotions. It is important to make them familiar with any kind of emotion. Amazon.com: hand2mind See My Feelings Mirror, Social Emotional Learning Activities, Play Therapy Toys, Autism Learning Materials, Kids Anxiety Relief, Anger Management Toys, Calm Down Corner Supplies (Set of 1) : Toys & Games
Picture My Picture Store Feelings and Emotions, Prepositions, Verbs, Categories and Go Together Flash Card Pack | Speech Therapy Materials, ESL Materials
This is a great set that includes 200 cards with large, bright, and fun images. These images easily capture your children’s attention if you want to teach something to them. With these cards, there are different things that you can teach, for example, vocabulary, sequencing, abstract concepts and words, emotional literacy, reasoning, and memory. The pictures on the cards are very vivid and large compare to other cards you can find on the market. The resembles of emotions on the cars are very accurate. It is a highly recommended set and you will be very happy with what you have. Amazon.com: Feelings and Emotions, Prepositions, Verbs, Categories and Go Togethers Flash Card Pack | Speech Therapy Materials, ESL Materials : Toys & Games