Balancing Age Appropriate Activities with Skill Level

Balancing Age Appropriate Activities with Skill Level

Liz Pagedas and Libby Gilchrist-Thompson contribute information related to working and playing with adults who have autism and other developmental delays. One challenge they face is finding age appropriate materials for the people they work with, as well as providing opportunities for their clients to engage in highly motivating activities that the public may look down upon as inappropriate for their age. Below they offer some tips for addressing these challenges. 


  • If we use a simple app for lower skill levels we try to take an adult twist and have a more in depth discussion. When using basic apps (i.e. Petting Zoo), we try to use the activity as a spring board for discussion – an individual began talking about his trip to the zoo and other interests that he has. This not only fosters age appropriate social interactions but also provides more information on other interests.
  • We use several very basic cooking “game” apps (“Cooking Academy”) to prep individuals for up-coming cooking activities.   This can be applied to other functional activities.
  • We re-frame some student directed self-regulation activities (i.e. “Brain Gym” and “Yoga for Classrooms”) as exercise.
  • As mentioned in our previous post, many commercial activities for individuals with developmental disabilities are marketed towards a younger population so modifications should and can be made to make them age appropriate.

Liz Pagedas (OTR/L) and Libby Gilchrist-Thompson (CCC-SLP) both work with adults with autism and other developmental disabilities.  They run multidisciplinary groups and individual sessions for their clients.  

**If you have additional tips for how you manage these challenges when working with adults clients, please leave them in the comments section!

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