Children with autism often have sensory issues. Sensory sensitivity is now considered a symptom of identifying autism in children.
If you have a child with sensory sensitivity, it helps to bring in sensory toys that stimulate the senses. These toys can stimulate various senses and help their motor skills as well. Sensory toys can also help them to calm down and relax.
Your child might need a little help at the beginning while playing with sensory toys. Eventually, they will grow to love it, besides this kind of toy will also help to boost their senses.
Sensory toys can help autistic children get used to different kinds of sensory stimuli and help to identify how they respond to real-world triggers.
Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder(ASD) have difficulty processing and reacting to sensory stimuli. ASD causes sensory issues where they are either overwhelmed by their senses or under-sensitive to them.
Sensory issues can affect their five senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. This also includes problems with developing motor skills, affecting their balance and body awareness.
There are mainly two types of sensory issues, both of which need appropriate support from parents. It is crucial to consult a professional therapist.
The needs of each child are different. A therapist can aid in deciphering their needs and show you the best ways to help your child. For more guidance, visit Autism Resources for parents.
Hypersensitivity occurs when someone is overly sensitive to stimuli. Hypersensitivity can cause extreme discomfort in children with autism and often lead to uncontrollable reactions due to ‘sensory overload’.
Even the smallest triggers can make them feel overwhelmed. Extreme triggers like loud noises, bright lights, strong smells, and uncomfortable surfaces can lead to negative behavioral responses.
Hyposensitivity causes people to have low, dulled out senses. Their sense of smell, sight, sound, or tastes might be unusually low. A hypersensitive child who is unable to hear properly might make loud noises to create louder sound input.
This can be a serious problem when the child has low sensitivity to pain. They require more sensory stimulation, as they might feel anxiety when they are lacking in their feelings of expression. This can cause motor skill problems like imbalance or lack of body awareness.
Sensory Toys For Children with Autism
Sensory toys can provide good sensory stimulation through playing, that the child might find relaxing and fun. It will teach them how to respond to stimuli and help them to focus and relax.
Think of it as a fun way for them to better understand and manage their senses. It helps to engage their senses and aids their motor skill development. Here are the top seven sensory toys for children with autism.
Fidget toys are handheld toys that help reduce anxiety. By playing with this type of toy helps the child to focus and stay engaged with the toy. Fidgeting with something in their hands even helps adults stay focused on long tasks, particularly ones that require sitting down.
Fidgeting toys can help children relax when they feel sensory overload or a great rush of emotions. It can help them calm down as they focus on playing with the toy.
There are numerous fidget toys out there to choose from. Most of them simulate the sense of touch as well, like tangle toys, stress balls, play foams, playdough, or stretchy toys.
This toy stimulates two senses at once, the sense of sight and sound. It is often a tube with tiny beads that mimics the sound of rain. Children find the sound of stones tumbling down the spirals extremely relaxing.
A child with autism will love this sense of igniting toy. The stones inside are often very colorful which attracts the attention of the child, along with the pitter-patter of the stones.
Scented Bubble Blower
Playing with bubbles is a fun activity that encourages interaction. Bubbles are beautiful to look at and often seem colorful in light. Using scented bubbles helps stimulate the sense of smell as well.
A child with autism might find it a little difficult to do it by themselves. Parents can either buy an automatic bubble toy machine or blow the bubbles themselves. This can help develop the bonding, by interacting when you blow the bubbles for them.
Catching or chasing bubbles also requires movement which will help their motor skills as well. This fun activity is great for outdoor parent-child bonding time.
Aromatherapy putty is extremely therapeutic for your child. Your child can stretch and pull, make it into various shapes. It can help to develop the strength and motor skills of their hand.
Putty is used by occupational therapists to help with your child’s hand strength, motor skills, coordination, and body awareness. Aromatherapy putty can stimulate their sense of smell, help them relax, and handle anxiety.
Parents often give chew toys to growing babies to help them with their oral fixation and teething. Your child might feel the need to chew when they feel overwhelmed, to bring themselves back to balance. Chewing helps children to calm down when they are feeling anxious.
They are made from chewing friendly silicon, which is not toxic. These come in various shapes, even as wearable jewelry. You can find them in assorted textures as well, so you can choose whichever your child likes. It will help them develop their chewing skills.
Interactive Toy Pets
A recent study has shown that interactive toy pets can help children with autism to accept different kinds of sounds. A child will find playing with the toy comforting, as it might respond to things like petting, calling, etc.
It can develop their social interaction skills as well as help them to accept pets. For example, your child might feel anxious hearing a dog barking when they are outside. This kind of toy can help them get used to sounds made by animals.
Sensory Touch Objects
Sensory touch toys can be very comforting for children. These objects engage their sense of touch, which has a calming effect. You can get some sensory mats, each material with a different kind of texture.
Other objects include sensory wall panels or glitter sequin pillows. It provides senses to both visual and tactile stimulation.
Sensory toys can help develop your child’s sensory system. It’s a fun way to help them cope with challenging stimuli and control their responses. These toys engage your child’s various senses, helping them learn more about themselves.