Many children with autism have specific special interests and obsessions. These may change from week-to-week in general, but some interests stay with them for a long time. One of these interests may be a specific color, or more than one color. There is much research on colors and children with autism, and most of it points to the fact that many children with autism are very visual. When they look at something big, they may see only a part of it and focus on that, especially if it is their favorite color! Here are some ways colors influence children with autism and their daily lives.
I will never forget my child’s first words, besides “momma” and “dada”. One day he was in little toddler bed at the age of three, and had just woken from a nap. He was yelling out color words. I was astounded. He was not yelling out typical color words, but words from the 64-Count Crayola Box! He was yelling out Dandelion! He was yelling out Turquoise and Burnt Sienna! Then came Mahogany. I was listening to him from the other room and could not believe my ears. It was amazing to know that a child who could not ask for a glass of milk new all of these color words. And guess what we had in his room? A fresh box of crayons with pointy tips and plenty of paper! We loved to draw together!
Many children with autism love colors. They are concrete and have a name. They are visual and are eye-catching to them. They simply connect with colors. That is one reason why many children with autism may love colorful cartoons, especially the vintage ones! They are uncomplicated and have repetitive actions in them that are simplistic. You may find that if you are a parent of a child on the spectrum that replaying cartoons again and again are fulfilling to your child.
Repetition + Vivid Colors = Satisfaction.
Colorful charts and illustrations are something children with autism related to. My child was obsessed with the color blue at the age of 2. His charts for his evening routine were, you guessed it, blue. His bedroom was…blue. The walls were completely blue. This made those previous meltdowns at bedtime non-existent. Children with autism can visually relate to colors, and if they love a color, they are seemingly calm when their environment is the hue they love.
Video games were a real hit for my child with autism around the age of five. He was verbal (finally) in Kindergarten and his new obsession was red. Well guess what video game is red? Mario! So he loved playing Mario on his Nintendo (limited of course!) and a few hours before bed we would spend time playing together. We read books about the “Red Mario” and he had many plush items for his room that were red. The next year at the age of six? It was LUIGI!
Listen more to Tyler’s video about his love of colors and why they have been a huge part of his life as an individual with autism. Perhaps as a parent of a child with autism you will be able to relate to what he has to say! I know I did!
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