Is Watching TV Good for Kids with ASD?

Jan 20, 2023 | Autism, Parenting Tips

Is Watching TV Good for Kids with ASD?

While some studies suggest that too much screen time can negatively impact the development of young children’s language and social skills, watching television can offer valuable tools and lessons and be very beneficial for kids with ASD. For example, videos that teach life skills such as how to tie shoes, brush teeth, make the bed, and perform other tasks can be watched by the child as many times as needed to learn the skill. Video modeling, as it is called, can be used with children and teens to teach a variety of academic, functional, and social skills and is often less threatening than in-person modeling.  

Television and videos that parents select on specific topics can also build on academic and special interests a child with ASD may have, such as an intense interest in the natural world, trains, technology, etc. Studies suggest that these special interests can help kids with ASD gain social skills and self-confidence. In many cases, adults with autism leverage their special interests into a successful career path. 

Carefully curated videos and television shows not only help kids learn about academic topics, but also demonstrate how to handle challenges related to attending school, navigate friendships, and solve everyday problems. The PBS TV show Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, for example, is recommended by Autism Parenting Magazine because of its social-emotional themes relatable to children with and without ASD. Shows like this can also help parents connect on a deeper level with their children by engaging in songs and play related to the show that their child enjoys. Pre-selected television and video shows can also provide a respite for parents when they simply need a break or have run out of creative ideas.

Videos geared for kids with ASD can be streamed online, purchased, or even made with a smartphone at home to model specific behaviors or skills. With today’s availability of parental controls, parents can select appropriate shows for their children to watch and use their child’s preferences to explore real-world experiences.

Harsha Autism Center provides ongoing care for children, adolescents, and young adults (ages 2-22) with autism to improve the quality of their lives. If you would like learn more about how Harsha Autism Center can help please contact us at info@harshaautism.com or call (812) 233-8833.

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