There is a huge gap in resources about activities for adults on the autism spectrum.
This post will share some ideas, resources, and places to look in regards to activities.
We frequently receive questions from family members and caregivers about activities for the autistic adult in their life that lives at home.
We also get questions from autistic adults about how to find activities at home and in their area.
So this post will serve both needs here, as everyone across the spectrum can benefit from learning more about these types of activities, ideas, and resources!
Overall, these activities, ideas, and resources also serve a variety of needs across domain skill areas (e.g., self-care, daily living, self-advocacy, safety, social, educational, vocational) and leisure and recreation.
First, let’s get into how you can select an activity with the autistic adult in your life:
Interests and strengths that the autistic adult in your life has - select an activity based on these (not yours!)
Fit for schedule, amount of time, location
Inclusion - is the setting supportive of the adult in your life while they’re engaging in this activity with peers?
Opportunities for natural supports - are there people there that are familiar and could be natural supports?
Now, let’s get into the list I’ve created of common activities that many of my clients, families, brothers, and others frequently participate in as adults on the autism spectrum.
They can be completed at home or outside in the community.
I know that being outside in the community is a preference for many families as their adult tends to already spend a lot of time at home, but for others, transportation is a common issue and is location dependent, so many of these activities can also be done at home and online (thanks to the internet!)
Art classes (drawing, painting, pottery)
Classes at the community center
YMCA / gym classes
Meet up groups
Card/board game groups
Seeing local bands and supporting them
Comedy (stand up, improv, sketch)
Run and/or support local 5K races
Sport watching clubs
Writing (books, articles, stories, graphic novels)
Library (attending their events too)
Local autism events and meetings
Parks and recreation (they often have inclusive events too)
It’s fantastic that you’re looking for ideas to help promote a meaningful day and life.
And I bet you have follow up questions like, “how do I know that my child/sibling likes the activity?” or “my child/sibling tends to go with the flow/say yes/not show a lot of expression when it comes to activities, how do I know if they want to try it again?” or even “how can I introduce a new activity?”
Here are some tips to navigate these questions with your child/sibling.
Choose an activity related to ones they like to do
Break the new activity into smaller steps and introduce as so (maybe starting with a preferred part)
Read their nonverbal cues and body language(you’re an expert on those)
Use visual supports, a social narrative, other supports as needed to introduce the activity and why you think they’ll like it
Give the new activity time and several opportunities to try it out before making a decision about the next step (unless you see clear signs that your child/sibling is not into it)
Use a consistent schedule (e.g., Tuesdays we go to the drawing class at the community center)
Don’t be afraid to add a support or create a group in your area. Ask around in your local facebook groups and autism groups to see if others are interested in joining.
This article from an online source called Love to Know about Activities
A compiled list of entertaining and recreational activities on Facebook for a family (I love how specific these are, and got a lot of ideas from this one)
Another list, specifically for adults with less support needs and written by an autistic self-advocate