Autism Treatment Center of America®
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Five Fun Games to Initiate

Puzzle Hunt


To inspire an increased interactive attention span.


Pictures or puzzles and going on rides.


Print out a large picture of one of your child’s favorite characters (Thomas the Tank, Barney, Micky etc). Laminate the picture (to make a sturdy re-usable game) and cut into pieces to make a puzzle. When you enter the room put the pieces up on the shelf.

Initiating the Game:

When your child gives you a Green Light* introduce the game by getting one or two pieces of the puzzle down from the shelf. Explain excitedly to your child what the picture will be when it is complete. Also tell your child that the way to get more pieces is for him/her to get on your back so you can ride around the room to find the next piece. Keep initiating this game each time your child gives you a Green Light until s/he gets on your back.

Building the Motivation Level:

Ride around the room with your child on your back (or in your arms, etc.) in a variety or fun ways and pick up one puzzle piece at a time. Each time you pick up a piece take it back to the table and add it into the puzzle. Show your child how exciting it is to watch the picture grow and grow and see the character start to emerge.


The goal here is to increase the duration of your child’s interactive attention span, so the only thing to request is that your child climb back up and you go get another puzzle piece. If your child goes to ism before completing the puzzle, join him/her until you get another Green Light then re-introduce the puzzle game. Keep re-introducing the puzzle game until either the puzzle is completed or the session is over.

* Green Light: After child has been exclusive s/he will signal availability to social interaction through a “Green Light”. There are three types of Green Light: Eye contact; Language; Physical contact.

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