On the Horizon – 12/05/12

Welcome to "On the Horizon"

Issue 207: Strategies for Playing Games with Children Who Have Autism, ADHD, and Other Neurodevelopmental Disorders

On the Horizon is an award winning weekly ezine for parents of children with developmental disabilities who want simple, effective strategies to reduce stress, support their child’s development, and improve quality of life for the whole family.

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  • A Note from Nicole: Season to Connect
  • Feature Article: Strategies for Playing Games with Children Who Have Autism, ADHD, and Other Neurodevelopmental Disorders
  • Ask the Horizons Team
  • Upcoming Events
  • Recommended Resources

Hi Everyone!

I hope December is off to a great start for all of you! This can be such a hectic season, but also a wonderful season of time spent together with family and friends. This past weekend I had the pleasure of spending time with my mother and sisters as we got together in Washington, DC. The four of us aren’t often together in the same place at the same time, especially not without our kids around! It was a wonderful opportunity to reconnect, especially during the holiday season. I hope that amidst the long lists of things you have to do at this time of year you are able to take some time out for meaningful connection with the people who are important to you.

The feature article this week is a new one I wrote to help ensure success when playing games with children who have autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. I find that many parents and professionals struggle with how to make game playing a productive and enjoyable experience. I hope you benefit from the ideas in the article below.

Since it’s the holiday gift-giving season I know many of you are looking for great gift ideas for the kids on your list. Check out the Q&A section below for some great ideas!

Speaking of holiday shopping – you have until December 17th to save 40% off ALL the items in our online store. You can pick up a copy of our book, an audio set for your family or school, and more. Click here to see all the items available, and enter the code HOLIDAY12 at checkout to receive the discount.

Looking to the horizon,

Strategies for Playing Games with Children Who Have Autism, ADHD, and Other Neurodevelopmental Disorders

By Nicole Beurkens, PhD

One of the thing adults often struggle with when trying to engage a child with autism, ADHD, or other neurodevelopmental issues in playing a game is helping the child stay oriented to them and not just the activity itself. When an adult gets out a game the child may immediately become focused on looking at and touching the items rather than focusing on playing the game together. This makes it very difficult for adults to guide the child to actually engage in playing the game together. The activity becomes more about the adult trying to keep up with what the child is doing, instead of guiding the child to think about and engage in the game in a productive way. It is critical to manage impulsive actions in a way that helps the child develop better emotional and behavioral regulation so that improvements in cognition, communication, and relationships can occur.

Click here to read the rest of this article…


I’m sure you get asked this question all the time, so I hope you have some good ideas for me. With the holidays coming I need gift ideas for my 6-year-old son with autism and my 9-year-old niece with Asperger’s. I’d like to get them gifts that they will enjoy but will also help them progress developmentally. Any and all ideas you have are appreciated!

Thanks – Joy in Richmond, VA


Hi Joy,

You are asking the question that is on everyone’s mind this time of year! We have provided gift ideas in various editions of the ezine over the years, and people always find them helpful. We like to recommend gifts that allow kids to think, engage with others, and build their brains and bodies! Here are a wide variety of things you may want to consider:

  • Tickets/passes to places such as the local zoo, museum, aquatics center, bounce party, etc. These allow for fun and engagement throughout the year, and are great to pull out on weekends and when the kids are off from school!
  • Snap Circuits – awesome building sets at various levels of complexity
  • Games from companies like Blue Orange (www.blueorangegames.com) and Think Fun (www.thinkfun.com). Some of our favorites are games like Rush Hour, Spot It, Bendominos, Swish, Pathwords, and more!
  • Art supplies such as clay, markers, chalk, drawing paper, glitter glue, etc.
  • Items that encourage movement such as kid’s stilts, jump ropes, hula hoops, yoga balls, balance boards, etc.
  • Cooking items – kids’ cookbooks, apron, chef hat, cookie cutters, etc.

I hope some of these ideas are a good fit for the kids in your family. Happy Shopping!


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Upcoming Events

Hear Nicole Speak

Upcoming dates and locations where Nicole Beurkens, PhD will be speaking:

Autism and Other Neurodevelopmental Disorders: Practical Strategies to Improve Processing

February 6, 2013 in Bridgeport, CT

February 7, 2013 in Cromwell, CT

February 8, 2013 in Warwick, RI


It’s likely you have already started your holiday shopping – and maybe some of you are already close to being finished. Don’t forget that we are holding a very special holiday sale on all of the products in our store through December 17th. If you haven’t already ordered now is the time to take action!

Just visit our store at
www.HorizonsDRC.com/store any time before 12/17, enter coupon code HOLIDAY12 at checkout, and you’ll instantly SAVE 40% on your entire purchase.

Whether you need gifts for teachers and other school staff, would like to purchase something inspirational for a friend, or just want to get some new ideas for yourself, you’ll find great options in our store.