World Autism Awareness Day - Toys for Special Needs

April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day. ASD, or autism spectrum disorder, affects so many lives today and yet it is often misunderstood. Here are some facts about autism from the organization Autism Speaks: 

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates autism’s prevalence as 1 in 68 children in the United States. This includes 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls.
  • An estimated 50,000 teens with autism become adults – and lose school-based autism services – each year.
  • Around one third of people with autism remain nonverbal.
  • Around one third of people with autism have an intellectual disability.
  • Certain medical and mental health issues frequently accompany autism. They include gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, seizures, sleep disturbances, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety and phobias.

We, at Fort Boards®, are certainly no experts on autism but we are learning more and more. Whenever a parent asks us or lets us know about how Fort Boards® works with autistic children, we take note. This toy was not intentionally designed for special needs but we have gotten enough feedback that it is indeed a useful tool for many special needs

Dylan can be shy sometimes and that's okay

Dylan can be shy sometimes and that's okay

Recently, a mother to a young autistic boy named Dylan reached out to us. Dylan had been playing with Fort Boards® during therapy sessions with his occupational therapist. 

Fort Boards® work for Dylan, a unique little boy. The very first thing Dylan did with Fort Boards® was build a square around himself, then he exclaimed “Dylan space. l, the therapist, was able to get him to engage by tossing a ball back and forth from “Dylan’s Space.” On one occasion he was having a rough day. He built up the walls higher and was able to tell us without words that he needed some time, as well as being able to remove a few boards to let someone in. It’s hard for him to explain - as an autistic child he has a hard time relaying what he needs or what he wants. But we know if it’s a good day when he builds with a door or without.
— Dylan's Occupational Therapist

This World Autism Awareness Day we hope you are able to help spread awareness of ASD. You can participate in social media movements like Light It Up Blue (#lightitupblue) or you could possibly contribute to one of the many organizations that are working to further the understanding of autism spectrum disorders.