Due to sensory integration issues, children with autism and other neurobehavioral disorders of childhood have special regulatory needs. A variety of therapy toys and sensory tools have been developed to help to minimize stress, reduce the occurrence of meltdowns and help children with special needs cope with sensory challenges. The following holiday shopping list are some of Dr. Melillo’s favorite gift ideas for children on the spectrum.
Children with developmental delays or sensory processing disorder can use body pressure to improve their skills. A sensory sock pushes back against the child’s movement. This helps children with coordination and spatial positioning and allow for both visual and kinesthetic feedback on their movements.
Children who experience sensory overload can better cope with an abundance of stimuli if they can block one of the senses or use some sort of distraction tool. Consider putting together a sensory kit complete with isolation headphones for auditory sensitivities, tinted glasses for visual sensitivities, fidget toys and chewelry. Both child and parent will thank you!
Great for preschool and elementary school-aged children who love to create patterns, line up objects or for counting and sorting, these colorful counting bears are fun, educational and offer great opportunity for sensory play.
An ideal activity for calming anxious thought patterns and promoting peace, Japanese sand gardens also offer a fine motor sensory experience as well as the opportunity to experience repetitive behaviors in a constructive and relaxing way.
Activate your sensory-seeking child’s vestibular and proprioceptive responses and build core strength with a wiggle seat. Especially helpful for restless children who have difficulty sitting still, these “wiggly” seat cushions also have a calming effect.
Because children on the spectrum experience sensory integration issues it’s more difficult for them to cope with too much or too little sensory input than their typically developing peers. We hope these gift ideas will help to ease the anxiety that comes along with sensory overload and result in a more peaceful holiday season and balanced new year!
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