Toys and games provide both education and entertainment for children with autism

This holiday season, toys and games can provide more than just fun for children dealing with autism spectrum disorders. Families shopping for holiday gifts have options that can build social skills, problem solving skills, and language and communication skills. Gifts can provide moments for sensory processing and creative play, said Mandy Rispoli, co-director of the Purdue Autism Research Center.

Kids putting a puzzle together

“Toys and games that promote turn-taking, perspective-taking and language development can offer valuable learning opportunities for children with autism spectrum disorders,” said Rispoli, a professor in the College of Education who specializes in the assessment and intervention of challenging behavior in children with autism spectrum disorder and developmental disabilities.

“Families can look for board games that focus on social skills like recognizing and handling emotions, empathy, social problem solving and making friends.”

Rispoli is a board certified behavior analyst Board Certified Behavior Analyst and has over 15 years of experience serving children with disabilities as a special education teacher, behavior analyst, administrator and professor. Her research investigates not only the behavior of children with autism to determine what the they are communicating but also helping teachers with the challenging behavior by developing new practices, preparation and support.

Among the toys, games and books Rispoli suggests for holiday shoppers are:

For social skills

For problem solving

For language and communication

For sensory

For play and creativity

Contact Mandy Rispoli for more details at (765) 494-7301 or