A child plays with sensory toys

Sensory toys, for autistic children, can make a substantial difference in engagement and growth.

The potential benefit of sensory toys for autistic kids lies in their ability to provide essential support for different aspects of growth and learning.

How can sensory toys help autistic kids?

Choosing appropriate toys for autistic children based on their individual needs and preferences is essential for their development and well-being. It is important to consider their unique sensory, cognitive, and emotional requirements to ensure the toys provide the maximum benefit.

The best sensory toys for autistic kids are specifically designed to engage and stimulate the child’s senses, which can help autistic children in several ways.

Sensory processing

Many autistic children experience sensory processing challenges, where they may be over- or under-sensitive to certain stimuli. Sensory toys can help them explore and process different sensory experiences in a safe and controlled environment, enabling them to gradually adapt and cope with various sensations.

Fine motor skills

Sensory toys often involve grasping, holding, or manipulating objects, which can help develop and improve fine motor skills. These skills are crucial for everyday activities such as writing, eating, and dressing.

Cognitive development

Sensory toys can help autistic children develop problem-solving skills, spatial awareness, and creativity by engaging them in activities that challenge their thinking and reasoning abilities.

Social skills

Interactive sensory toys can encourage communication, turn-taking, and cooperation, which are essential skills for building social relationships.

Emotional regulation

Sensory toys can provide a calming and soothing effect for autistic children who may experience anxiety or emotional dysregulation. By engaging with these toys, children can learn strategies to self-soothe and regulate their emotions.

Building interests and hobbies

Sensory toys can help autistic children discover new interests and hobbies, providing them with a sense of accomplishment and enjoyment. This can boost their self-esteem and contribute to their overall well-being.

Language development

Sensory play toys for autistic children can promote language development by providing opportunities to learn new words and concepts related to the toys and activities they are engaged in.

What are the best sensory toys for autistic kids?

A child plays with sensory toys

Remember that every autistic child is different and will have different needs. You might explore both oral and motor sensory toys for autistic children and find that they will prefer one to the other, or that they may love both.

1. Fidget toys

Fidget toys can make great sensory-motor toys for autistic kids. They offer numerous benefits for autistic children, including improved focus, anxiety reduction, sensory regulation, fine motor skill development, emotional regulation, social skills enhancement, and cognitive function support.

Top fidget toy recommendation: Sensory Genius Stress Balls

2. Chewelry

Chewable jewelry, like a chew necklace or bracelet, can be excellent sensory toys for autistic children, including oral sensory input, anxiety relief, improved focus, support for oral motor skills, reduction of harmful chewing habits, emotional regulation, social skills enhancement, and self-expression.

Top chewelry recommendation: Willow’s Toys

3. Sensory swings

In our blog, we explain that “There are a variety of swings used in behavioral therapy centers and schools to help calm children with autism while offering posture support and more.” These swings can be customized to accommodate individual needs and preferences. For instance, some swings are designed with adjustable harnesses or safety belts to provide extra security for children who may have difficulty sitting still or maintaining balance.

Top sensory swing recommendation: InYard Therapy Swing

4. Visual sensory toys

Visual sensory toys can help develop and strengthen visual processing skills, which are essential for tasks such as reading, writing, and recognizing facial expressions.

Many visual sensory toys, such as liquid motion bubblers or slow-moving light projections, provide a soothing and mesmerizing experience that can help reduce anxiety and stress levels in autistic children.

Top visual sensory toy recommendation: Liquid Motion Bubbler

5. Tactile sensory toys

Tactile sensory toys help autistic children process and integrate tactile information more effectively, allowing them to better adapt to different textures and sensations in their environment. These are excellent sensory toys for autistic children, as they engage their sense of touch and offer various textures and shapes to explore.

Top tactile sensory toy recommendation: Edushape Textured Sensory Balls

6. Kinetic sand

Kinetic sand offers a range of benefits for autistic children, as it provides a unique sensory experience that can be both stimulating and calming. Kinetic sand engages the sense of touch, offering a unique texture and consistency that can help autistic children process and integrate tactile information more effectively.

Manipulating kinetic sand can help improve fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, as children can practice molding, shaping, and sculpting the sand.

Top kinetic sand recommendation: National Geographic Play Sand

Why we love sensory toys for autistic children

We love sensory toys because they provide numerous benefits that support the unique developmental needs of autistic kids. Sensory toys are specifically designed to engage one or more of the senses, making them an ideal choice for autistic children who often have sensory processing challenges, need help with soothing and sensory regulation, or need support with skill development.

We encourage all parents and caregivers to explore various sensory toys to support their child’s development and to determine the sensory toys that their child prefers. We often use sensory toys in our therapeutic work, particularly in play therapy.

Remember though, as we’ve explained before, “As the parent [or caregiver] of a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder, you can feel confident in your ability to practice play therapy with your child. It does not need to take place solely in an ABA clinic.”

Sensory toys, for children with autism, can be a great point of entry for that type of play.

Learn more about our Speech and Language Therapy Services

Leave A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Stories

The Latest Blossom Stories