Everyone can benefit from spending some time outdoors, gardening the day away, but it’s especially true for children with autism. If you’re interested in learning all about how a gardening hobby can help autistic children, then this is the guide for you!

Encourages Positive Behaviour

It’s difficult for children with autism to control their behaviour, as they have trouble keeping emotions at bay and may react negatively in a physical manner. It can be hard for parents to improve their child’s behaviour through sheer will alone, but a hobby like gardening can encourage autistic children to show more positive behaviour. In fact, many therapy practices for autism utilize gardening as a way to help calm them down.

Teaches Cooperation with Others

It’s important for autistic children to know how to socialize, as not doing so will affect how they make friends or have everyday conversations. Gardening gives them something to focus on while trying to communicate with others. Even if they don’t use words, they’re improving their socialization skills by working with others.

It’s a Calm Hobby in a Safe Environment

Autistic children tend to gravitate towards quieter places that are more solitary, mainly because noisier or unfamiliar areas can cause them stress. This can lead to the negative behaviour mentioned previously. Gardening, on the other hand, allows them to practice their hobby in a happy environment that can both include other people and leave them to their own devices.

Improves Their Ability to Follow Instructions

One of the many challenges that accompany autism is the inability to follow instructions. However, because gardening is a focused task. It gives them the perfect opportunity to practice how to follow directions as an adult walks them through different gardening tasks.

Gardening Teaches Responsibility

In order to have a healthy garden, you need to be responsible and take care of it. In doing so, autistic children are being taught how to care for the things they love. This is the perfect way to teach them the importance of responsibility, as they’ll have to keep on top of their duties if they want to keep the plants alive.

Improves Motor Skills

Whether your child has autism or not, it’s essential that you help them improve their motor skills. For autistic children especially, as it can be difficult for them to control their movements, gardening does a great job of practicing those skills. Digging, planting, and watering is just a few tasks that require the use of their motor skills, allowing them to fine-tune them while doing something they love.

Based in Toronto, Ontario, Shelley Ortved is a Speech-Language Pathologist who treats patients across the Greater Toronto Area. She works closely with families who have children, preteens, and adolescents with speech and language disorders and delays. Through Speech and Language Therapy treatments, that include Assessments, Consultations, and the treatment itself, she will work with your child.

Shelley welcomes new patients. Feel free to call her at 416-488-0988 or visit her website.

Related: 5 Facts parents of a Teen on the Autism Spectrum Should know.