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Gardening is a therapeutic and rewarding hobby that has a lot of power – it can really make a difference in people’s lives, and when it comes to autistic children, it could be an ideal activity to help them feel good in a variety of different ways. If you’re looking for something for your autistic child to do, it could be that gardening is the answer, so read on to find out more about the reasons behind this, and think about what you can do to make this part of your child’s life. 

Photo by RDNE Stock project


Sensory Engagement 

As the parent or guardian of an autistic child, you’ll know that they often have unique sensory preferences, and can be particularly sensitive to some things. Gardening can be a great way to give them a rich sensory environment that isn’t overwhelming but instead gives them everything they need to be stimulated. 


When gardening, you have to use the majority of your senses, from touching the soil and plants like the little gem magnolia when you put them in the earth to smelling the results when they’re planted and growing. Plus, when you’re outside, you’ll hear natural sounds like birdsong, buzzing bees, and perhaps running water. All of this tends to be stimulating and soothing, but as an added benefit, being out in the garden more can also increase your child’s tolerance to various stimuli, making it easier for them in general life to go out and about. 


Routine And Predictability 

Children on the autism spectrum often thrive in structured and predictable environments, so gardening can be a wonderful way to bring some more routine into their lives. Gardening is all about routine and doing the same small tasks over and over, so it can be soothing and comforting, and not only that, but those small tasks create something beautiful over time, so it’s all absolutely worthwhile. 


The other thing to bear in mind when it comes to the routine of gardening is that it never ends; the job is never going to be finished. Your plants always need to be tended to and watered, weeds always have to be pulled, the lawn always has to be cut, and so on. This means gardening is always there, it’s reliable, and that makes it perfect to add to a routine. 


Developing Motor Skills 

Doing any kind of gardening activity, like digging, planting, or weeding, for example, helps children improve their fine and gross motor skills. The physical tasks involved in gardening need precision and coordination, which can help children develop better motor skills, and for autistic children who can often find this challenging, gardening gives them a fun and non-intimidating way to practice their motor skills and be rewarded with a beautiful garden in return. 


The great thing about gardening as well is that children won’t even realize they’re learning or improving – they’ll just be having fun and enjoying the process of planning, planting, weeding, and tidying. And you can all work together too; gardening is the kind of hobby that a whole family can do together with great results.

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Digital Product Creator at Kori at Home
Kori is a late diagnosed autistic/ADHD mom. She is currently located in Albany, NY where she is raising a neurodiverse family. Her older daughter is non-speaking autistic (and also has ADHD and Anxiety) and her youngest daughter is HSP/Gifted. A blogger, podcaster, writer, product creator, and coach; Kori shares autism family life- the highs, lows, messy, and real. Kori brings her own life experiences as an autistic woman combined with her adventures in momming to bring you the day-to-day of her life at home. Kori is on a mission to empower moms of autistic children to make informed parenting decisions with confidence and conviction.

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Jenna Lamb
3 months ago

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