Tahirih Bushey

As a Speech Language Pathologist, I spent twelve years in a clinic where I specialized in the treatment of young children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). During these years, I worked for the Scottish Rite Clinic for Childhood Language Disorders in Duluth, Minnesota.

Using the context of play and focused always on what successfully engaged the attention of children, I began collecting activities and routines that I came to think of as AUTISM GAMES. Eventually, the ever evolving games came to have names as I taught them to family after family. Family members modified games to suit their toys, their environments and their interests.

Parents and siblings and other caregivers participated in my play-based communication therapy sessions, and occasionally, even the family dog would come . School professionals also collaborated with us as we worked to teach functional skills within the context of play that would support the child's communication in all the environments of their child's life including the school.

It was for these children and their families that I first thought that a website was needed. Some families were traveling a long way to come to our clinic. One parent might attend the clinic session but both parents wanted to be involved. I wanted to be able to send video clips home for other family members to watch. Also, at about the time when it was getting easier to get and share video clips, my daughter, became a special education teacher and went to work in Europe. She began to ask me for good activities for working with children who had ASD. As the need arose, families in the clinic helped build this website by allowing video clips of games to be posted on YouTube and on Autism Games. Families often expressed the pleasure they felt in supporting one another and other families around the world with their family videos.

In addition to families with children in our clinic, colleagues (speech language pathologists, teachers, and graduate students) also helped us build this website with video tapes of themselves and their own children. They demonstrated games and so many of the children you see on this site are children of colleagues. I am grateful for all of the contributors to this project. The Scottish Rite Foundation was very generous in supporting my work on this website and generally and for that, I am grateful.

After leaving the Scottish Rite Clinic, I went on to work for nine years in a public school setting at the elementary level and worked with many more children who had ASD or other significant developmental disorders. I used versions of these games, made more complex for older students but similar in structure and similarly playful. More of the games were modified to become group activities within the school setting because children were ready to play with other children. Also, I saw a large caseload of students and needed to see them in groups. I thought that I would be leaving the playful approach that I had used in the clinic setting once I moved to work in a school but that was hardly the case. Play is a great learning state of mind for any age.

Now, in retirement, I am giving a second look to this website and modifying parts of it that need to be modified. Many of the clips look dated but play does not change as much as the technology so the videos still work to demonstrate games and strategies. I'm thinking about how to add the games that I created with creative school social workers, councilors, special education teachers and classroom assistants, and perhaps, once I have updated the rest, I will find a way to add an Elementary School section.


I have recently become a retired Speech Language Pathologist. My children are spread across the world so I am also a traveler. I spend most my time in Minnesota where my youngest daughter lives, in Seattle, where my son lives, and in The Netherlands where my oldest daughter is raising her family. Many of the photos on this site are from the lovely days my husband an I spend exploring The Netherlands.

Contact me

I'd love to hear how you are using these games. Send me an email at autismgame@gmail.com. I would love to hear about games that you have created for your child.