Cause and effect toys promote visual motor and grasping skills and are especially helpful for children with autism as they provide the opportunity for hand-eye coordination, sensory exploration and repetitive sequences. These toys allow children to “cause” a type of reaction (example: push a button and a light flashes). Some of the more common cause and effect toys are:
Toddlers with autism don’t quite take in information from all their senses the way their peers do, but practicing and helping them develop their senses through play can help them catch up. Rattles and musical toys are fantastic cause and effect toys for toddlers because they are age-appropriate and teach your toddler that he can shake a maraca, for example, and hear a sound -- just don’t forget to buy yourself some ear plugs as well. These toys also give your toddler chances to practice fine motor skills and simple repetitive movements. Consider maracas, a light-up keyboard, toy drums, sound blocks or sound puzzles, all of which are better than your hardwood floors or pots and pans.
Once babies learn to sit, they love cause and effect toys like . Anything they can drop a ball into, crawl after or push a button to earn a reward of fun music will be a big hit.
Picking a toy because it’s entertaining is probably your gut instinct -- but when choosing toys for autistic toddlers, you must also think, “What are the educational benefits of this toy?” Not all educational toys simply teach numbers or colors, especially when it comes to autism, and they absolutely don’t have to be boring. Cause and effect toys, or ones that show toddlers they can do something to get a reaction, help autistic toddlers by helping them discover their environment and their role in it.