What Are the Benefits of Coding for an Autistic Child?
Families of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can relate to the importance of finding enriching activities, games, and toys that support their kid’s curiosities. For many autistic students, activities like computer science and software development are a natural fit for their interests and skill set.
It’s important for all kids to have experiences with technology to be able to grow and adapt with the times, but coding skills come naturally for many neurotypical kids with autism.
Your child might excel with coding concepts if they:
- Have an inherent interest in technology, whether through computers, tablets, or gaming systems
- Enjoy challenging educational games, like puzzles or problem-solving activities
- Use drag-and-drop block coding toys, like Code-a-pillar
- Participate in games that engage programming skills, such as Minecraft or Robot Wars
- Enjoy free play with building toys such as LEGO
- Appreciate structure and have the ability to follow instructions
- Gravitate to creative outlets like art classes and cooking classes
What is the Impact of Technology on Those Diagnosed with Autism?
Changes in technology and recommendations around screen time are often met with a disclaimer, but autism research shows that technology is a great opportunity for neurotypical kids with Asperger’s syndrome or other diagnoses on the autism spectrum.
Partnerships with coding courses, summer camps, and other non-profits make it easier for autistic people with disabilities or impairments to get computer programming skills, even at home. Schools make it possible to offer more enrichment and help foster coding skills with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs).
As technology changes, jobs for skilled web developers, programmers, and coders are only going to continue to grow in demand. Students on the spectrum possess unique skills that set them apart when it comes to a future career in the tech industry, and should embrace opportunities to learn more about computer science and coding from a young age.
Many kids with autism are fascinated by technology, reinforcing how perfect coding and other STEM activities may be for them now. Their unique ability to hyper-focus on learning can work to their advantage when it comes to interpreting and learning programming languages.
Coding can help kids diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder:
- Develop strong problem-solving skills
- Foster social skills and ability to participate in teamwork
- Build upon spatial intelligence
- Develop logical thinking skills
- Engage creativity
- Explore imaginative free play
- Learn transferable skills that can be used in future workplaces
Types of Coding
There are over 700 coding languages used around the world, but it’s always best if young learners start with easy coding challenges.
Beginners, including children with autism spectrum disorder, can easily be introduced to different types of coding with drag-and-drop visual block programming options like Tynker and Scratch. Building foundational skills is important for coders of all types, and makes it easier for kids to advance to meet different coding challenges and learn new software languages.
Once the child demonstrates an understanding of what’s possible, they may start to show interest in coding for specific applications. Maybe they want to create animations, apps, or build video games. They might be interested in web development, robotics, or even open to the challenge of building their own computer! Help your child understand the options available in the world of coding, and offer online tutorials and immersive camps to help quench their thirst for knowledge.
Once they get the hang of coding and understand what they can do, kids love to share their games and animations with others in online communities. These communities can help coders see what’s possible and spark creativity, and also help autistic students process social interactions.
From there, five common coding languages you may encourage your child to try may include:
Find a Coding Class Near You
Coding classes for kids offered by TheCoderSchool strive to make it possible for kids of all abilities to get a foundational knowledge of coding. We have coding courses in a virtual learning environment, in-person, and private one-on-one lessons to offer flexibility and personalized education to students with an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis.
Find a class near you today, and get in touch with us if you have any questions about programs to target specific interests.