Chess is an ideal hobby for many children at the high functioning end of the autistic spectrum. Here are a few reasons why.
- Chess requires a high degree of logical, structured, detailed thought: many children on the autistic spectrum excel at this type of thinking.
- Chess does not require a lot in the way of social skills, while at the same time offering opportunities for children to improve their social skills by meeting like-minded people and making new friends.
- Chess is essentially an individual activity which doesn’t require teamwork skills: but at the same time you can benefit and gain satisfaction by being part of a team representing your school or club.
- Chess is played in an environment with low sensory input. Chess competitions, by their nature, take place in silence, or as close to silence as possible: you won’t find any loud noise and flashing lights to distract you.
- Chess is a game which enables you to go out, visit new places, meet new people, rather than just sitting at home staring at a screen.
- Chess can be highly beneficial to the mental health of those on the autistic spectrum by providing a portal to the outside world.
There is little doubt that Bobby Fischer, arguably the greatest player of all time, was on the autistic spectrum.
A few children on the autistic spectrum will have an exceptional talent for chess and will be able to pick up ‘big chess’ straight away.
But for most young children, ‘big chess’ will be too hard, so we recommend an approach based on minichess. Children will learn chess one piece at a time, one skill at a time. Some will eventually feel confident enough to try ‘big chess’ while others will be happy to continue playing minichess with their friends.
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Contact us now to find out more about how children on the autistic spectrum can benefit from chess.