Engaging An Autistic Child With A Super Mario Matching Game
One of the things that I’ve noticed with my daughter is that she gets bored of her toys extremely quickly! And by that, I don’t mean the typical “playing for 3 days and then losing interest”; she will play with a new toy for about an hour or so and then often, never touch it again.
Finding toys that keep my daughter’s interest is actually really hard. In fact, out of all of the toys we have given to her in the last 6 months, only 2 actually seem like they are going the distance. One is a very expensive robot that is aimed at older kids, and the other is the toy I wanted to talk about today; the Super Mario Match game from Top Trumps.
For full disclosure, I was provided with a Super Mario Match game in exchange for writing this post. However, the thoughts and comments are entirely my own.
Match Making Cubes
In order to best explain what Super Mario Match is and why my daughter likes it, let’s start by talking about her a little bit. We’ve been told that her love for stacking blocks and matching colours or images is part of her Autism. She can sit there and match pictures for hours on end, or build the same structure out of blocks over and over.
These two things are really important for you to understand going into this. On top of that, as you will probably have heard countless times already, every Autistic child is different. However, for us and a few others that I have spoken to, this is the case for our daughter.
With that said, let’s take a look at Super Mario Match and you’ll probably understand why she likes it so much.
So, Super Mario Match looks a lot like Connect4 meets Guess Who when you first open it up. There is a large red container with two sides that fold out to create each player’s playing board. Then, in the central section, there are empty squares for you to place the blocks in.
Each block (or rather, cube) has a set of Super Mario characters on its faces and your just to match them up. When playing by yourself, that is obviously very easy. However, when playing with someone else, it becomes a lot more challenging.
This is because, as they try to match different characters up, it will be invading and changing which characters you can match up. It’s a lot of fun!
Keeping Their Attention
So I am sure you can understand why my daughter loves the Super Mario Match game. It provides a lot of calmer and more relaxed stimuli for her, allowing her to interact with Super Mario Match in ways that she simply doesn’t with other toys.
On top of this, and let me tell you this from experience, outside of very select and specific stuff, most things don’t hold my daughter’s interest for long. There are certain toys, TV shows and other stimuli that she will become utterly fixated on, but they are very limited in number.
Now, we can add Super Mario Match to that prestigious list.
My daughter can and does play with Super Mario Match over and over for hours. She will play by herself since that is how she likes it but will pull us over to watch her play with it. She will put the blocks in and out of the central section, stack them for a bit and then repeat.
Helping To Control Behaviour
The other, final aspect of the Super Mario Match game that I wanted to touch on was the effect it has on our daughter’s behaviour. Anyone with or that knows an Autistic child will understand that their behaviour can get out of hand quite quickly. (Attempting to pull my hair out is a good example.)
However, the Super Mario Match seems to really be helpful at curbing the negative or over-stimulation. It is a calm and relaxed board game, after all. So, as she sits down to play it, her eyes focus on the various faces and her negative behaviour stops immediately.
Whilst your child might not react with Super Mario Match in the same way, or at all, I can see that it has been a wonderful thing that my daughter has latched onto…
And That’s All Folks
All in all, I’m really impressed by the Super Mario Match game, and my daughter seems to like it too. If you’re stuck with ideas of what to get your Autistic child for Christmas, then there really isn’t much more suitable for a 4-year-old who gets bored really quickly. On top of that, it seems like it is teaching patience to my daughter since each member of the family takes it in turns playing this game.
So yeah, I would definitely recommend picking up Super Mario Match and seeing how your child takes to it. Let me know in the comments below if it goes well!