I believe everyone should have a few hobbies, and there are so many out there! Reading, martial arts, cooking, baking, sports, writing, going for walks, fishing, skating and so on. But for those on the autism spectrum, having a normal childhood with hobbies is extra important. I was never one to run around yelling and playing with other kids, so I turned to my hobbies.
It can be hard to work around sensory issues, social challenges and preferences of routine. Finding the right hobbies can be a real challenge for the family with an autistic loved one, but it’s worth it!
From the age of 4 through 18, I took dance lessons. When I danced, I was able to express myself without talking. Only with moving my body. Not many people with autism like to do things like dancing because of the loud music and how so many people dance differently, but that’s why I enjoyed it! Because no one was copying another person. They were being themselves and letting loose. This hobby also helped me to get used to loud noises, being around other people, and being part of a team.
I also have hobbies that are calming, such as crocheting. I started to learn when I was around nine years old from my dad’s grandmother. When I was in elementary school I used to fidget with my clothes and ruin them. I thought keeping my hands busy would help me control that, and I was right! Crocheting helps me manage my fidgeting. I’ve crocheted stuffed snowmen, scarves and other small things for my family.
I’ve been able to find hobbies that are relaxing, and hobbies that are energizing. I do some writing in my free time to relax. During the Thanksgiving holiday, I tried ice skating for the first time. The day before Thanksgiving, while my family and I were on vacation, we went to the Carousel Hotel in Ocean City, MD. It has a small Ice Rink inside! I got on the ice and did a really good job. I skated for an hour and a half, never leaving the ice. It was like dancing but on a new level. In a way, a new challenge for me.
My point is that not all hobbies for those on the autism spectrum have to be small and quiet. You could try reading, doing puzzles (which I enjoy), crocheting, taking walks, drawing, or things like that. Try things like yoga, martial arts or swimming. Hobbies can encourage you or your loved one to join a club with other people and help them learn to socialize more. It can even help them make some friends.
Don’t be afraid to try new hobbies,
they can lead to great things!
Until next time,