Crafts for Autistic Teenagers

By Melodie Anne
Making jewelry allows teens to proudly display their artwork.

Autism includes a group of neurodevelopment disorders that cause impairment with social skills, communication and patterned behavior. Teenagers with autism can benefit by making crafts, since autistic people are often visual thinkers and enjoy using creativity and imagination to learn. You can provide several types of crafts for your autistic teenager that she can be proud to display to her friends and family members.

Jewelry

Allow your autistic teen to make her own jewelry. This type of craft allows her to explore her own creativity and make something that she can wear. Take her to a craft store so she can pick out beads that include her favorite colors. Depending on her skill level, you may need to help her put together a sequence for the beads. Get her started by setting up a necklace string with a red bead, a white bead and then a blue bead. Have her continue the sequence of beads in that order until the entire strand is complete. Keep her motivated by reminding her that she can wear the new necklace when she finishes the task.

Clay Art

Working with clay allows your autistic teen to work on her motor skills. Purchase a slab of clay and help your daughter roll it out until it is thin enough to work with. She can mold it into a bowl, use toothpicks to create a design or cut out shapes with cookie cutters. Allow the clay to thoroughly dry for a day after molding. When it is dry, you can have another craft day by letting her paint her creation. Give her a few shades of paint and a couple paint brushes and allow her to personalize her masterpiece. At the end, she'll have her own creation that she made from start to finish.

Spray Painting Murals

Spray painting a mural works well for a group of autistic teenagers. Line a fence or an area of sidewalk with a 5-foot roll of paper. Sketch a mural on the paper with a pencil and write in a color for each different part. For example, if your mural is a picture of a mountain range surrounding a lake, write "blue" in the lake and "green" on the mountains. Give each teen a bottle of spray paint and assign them an area to work on. Let teens know that they are responsible for spray painting their assigned color in all parts of the mural. For instance, if your daughter gets the green paint, point out all of the areas that say "green" and have her paint those sections. This activity allows autistic teens to work together to accomplish a task.

Paint by Music

Give your autistic teen a canvas to work on. Supply her with a palette, several paint colors and a paint brush. Have her select one color, dip the brush in the paint and close her eyes. Play a song for her and tell her to move the brush along the canvas to the rhythm of the music. A song with a steady drum beat, might result in a jagged line that resembles a heart rhythm. After 20 seconds, have her stop and repeat the process with a different color. Play a different song each time, incorporating different styles and paces of music. Her creativity will flow out onto the canvas, resulting in wall art that you can hang in your home.

About the Author

Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.