Sensory support is really important for many people with autism. Unfortunately it can be really hard to identify the right sensory needs particularly for young children. I find it best to have a range of sensory aids that you can access. Over time you will find what works best, analysing behaviour can also help identify what support is needed.
Every child will have different needs and those needs will change depending on a range factors. Below is a list of my top recommendations for sensory toys.
Sensory Toys for Autism
Some of the best sensory toys and supports for me are the calming ones. My son often needs distraction if he gets overexcited or overloaded. This video highlights some of my go to distractions that he enjoys and finds calming.
All types of messy play are brilliant sensory activities, my son particularly likes Playdoh and water play. The other day we made some bread and he loved kneading the dough .
Water play is brilliant these Munchkin suction cup bath toys are great for a calming activity in the bath.
Physical sensory feedback
My son is a sensory seeker and physical sensory feedback is great for him. We have a Gym Ball which he uses to sit on when he is watching the telly, it is a great way to interact with a young child helping them roll over the ball.
When my son was smaller we had a large piece of Lycra (any stretchy fabric would do). He would lie in the middle of the fabric and with an adult at each end we would swing him. This was brilliant when we were teaching him to request using Picture Exchange Communication.
I have a swivel office chair which is great for some spinning. The best physical thing we have is a trampoline in the garden, as soon as he comes home he has a good bounce. We got ours for free from a neighbour – check out local ads for second hand ones.
Calming Sensory Toys
We have a torch with a range of tops with different dinosaurs so you can make shadows. I can’t find a link for the dinosaur one but the same brand also does a jungle theme torch.
My favourite toy to pull out at bedtime has to be our liquid gel timer, its very soothing to watch and really helps my son to relax. You can see it in action on the video at the top of this post.
A recent find for us also on the video is the reversible sequin bag. There are lots of reversible sequin products in the shops at the moment like t-shirts and pillows. They are great for my tactile boy, I particularly like our rainbow sequin bag.
A great present we got for my sons birthday was this LED light up writing board, it is fantastic for mark making practice. This can also be seen in action on the video.
Galt do some great little activity books that I keep in my bag to use if we are out. The water magic one is fantastic and keeps my boy occupied for ages (helpful if I want a conversation with a friend over coffee). Another one we like is the scratch art.
A little more fun and can be calming or exciting depending on your mood is our marble run.
I could go on but the toys listed above are our favourites and might give you a little inspiration.