19 Sensory Toys for Kids with Aspergers or Autism
Many children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have problems processing sensory information. Hyporesponsive or hyperresponsive children might react with meltdowns, withdrawal, or other challenging behaviors. Desensitizing tools can make it easier for these children to cope with sensory input.
Under-sensitive children seek out more of a sensation to feel satisfied. Depending on the sense, this can mean they turn up the TV volume, jump on the bed, or watch the wheels of their toy car spin over and over. Sensory toys give them the sensation they crave in a fun, safe way.
Over-sensitive children try to avoid certain sensations that are too overwhelming. This might mean they cover their ears when the vacuum cleaner is on, want the tags cut out of clothing, or cry when placed on a swing. In these cases, sensory toys act as an enjoyable introduction to sensations that children dislike with the goal of making the sense more tolerable in the future.
Toys and tools can help with sensory integration of textures, sounds, brightness, balance and movement to improve daily life.
Our Top 19 Sensory Toys & Tools for Children with Autism
Crystal Bead Ball: Visual and Tactile
This squishy, stretchable ball contains colored beads inside for sensory stimulation. This toy is great for visual and tactile fun.
Gel Shapes: Visual and Tactile
These shapes are great for visual play. Five different shapes are filled with clear, blue, red, yellow, and green gel. Glitter inside the gel moves around for extra stimulation. The squishable shapes are also great for tactile fun.
Develop your child’s sense of touch and their balance with Riverstones! Your child can step from stone to stone or even try to jump without touching the floor.
Economy Ball Pool: Tactile
Introduce a new texture to your child in a fun way. After they get used to just sitting in the balls, you could hide soft toys in the balls so they need to reach into them to further stimulate their sense of touch.
Twirly Whirly: Visual and Auditory
Colorful beads twist and fall for a fun visual, complimented by auditory stimulation from the spinners and clinking beads. This no-mess toy is easy to bring along in the car and when out and about. It can be turned, shaken, or rolled for a fun sensory experience.
Radiance Floor Lamp: Visual
This 40.5” lamp is filled with clear acrylic rocks that catch and bend the light. The LED lights slowly change color for a dazzling visual effect.
Rubber Massage Brushes: Oral Motor
Sometimes your child’s difficulty with eating might be due to the food’s texture and not its taste. Rubber massage brushes can desensitize the mouth and help fix oral issues. This makes it easier for your child to try different foods or brush his or her teeth.
Chewy Tubes: Oral Motor
Chewy tubes can help kids with oral sensitivities. They can be used with over-sensitive kids to help develop biting skills. The tubes are also great for under-sensitive children looking for oral stimulation. They can be used to redirect the child from chewing on their clothes, nails, pencil erasers, and other objects.
Dentips: Oral Motor
The tips of these sticks are coated with peppermint flavored dentifrice for cleaning the teeth. The Dentips can also be used for oral motor stimulation.
Economy Foam Balance Beam: Gross Motor
This beam is great for improving balance in young children. The beam is 6” wide and made of foam for safe use. Excellent as a beginner’s balance beam!
Trampoline: Gross Motor
A great, safe alternative for children who crave motion and enjoy jumping on the bed. It can also help kids improve their body coordination.
Spin Disc: Gross Motor
For children who love to spin, this disc offers a whirling experience. Sit, kneel, or lie down on this disc to have fun while improving coordination and balance. Or if your child has difficulties when their feet aren’t on the ground, this is a fun way to practice improving their skills.
Special High Back Swing Seats: Gross Motor
This swing is great because it has a high back offering additional support. The sturdy seat includes a safety harness and can be used with a pommel and/or leg extenders. Use with any indoor/outdoor swing frame. It's ideal for under-sensitive children who need to swing to get sensory input.
Pattern Blocks and Boards: Manipulatives
Manipulatives help your child work on their fine motor skills. This set also lets your child work on spacial skills while matching the pattern blocks to the pattern board designs.
Bead Sequencing Set: Manipulatives
Children with autism who are over-sensitive in proprioception have difficulties with fine motor skills. A bead sequencing set helps build this skill and improve dexterity. This set includes a storage box with dowels, 45 multicolor beads and 10 sequencing patterns.
Tumble Forms 2 Weighted Blanket: Deep Touch Pressure
A weighted blanket provides deep touch pressure, which is proven to release serotonin in the brain creating a calm, relaxing sensation. This makes the blankets great for calming children after a meltdown, during sensory overload, or to help them fall asleep.
Sensory Cuff and Pressure Vest: Deep Touch Pressure
The constant pressure from this vest helps provide sensory stability. This vest is great for children who love hugging or squishing or are restless. It has a calming effect and can improve concentration while worn.
Tumble Forms 2 Weighted Critters: Deep Touch Pressure
These weighted animals can be place around your child’s shoulders or set on their lap to provide targeted deep pressure. The weight helps serve as a reminder to sit still and focus. It can also be calming during transitions between activities, like in a classroom at school. Four different animal friends are available: a caterpillar, a butterfly, a dinosaur, or a whale.
Tumble Forms 2 Weighted Vest: Deep Touch Pressure
Weighted vests can help children with autism calm down. They may also be recommended to increase focus in the classroom or to help decrease stimming behavior. This vest is offered in plain blue or a colorful pattern.
Brushing and Joint Compression
You might have heard of another sensory integration therapy practice called sensory brushing and joint compression. Brushing, typically using the Wilbarger protocol, is sometimes used to desensitize the body. Sensory gloves using different tactiles are also occasionally used. Both of these therapies should be done by an occupational therapist and not at home.
Use these fun sensory toys to capture your child’s attention! Children with autism or Asperger's syndrome can get the sensory stimulation they need with these toys. Whether your child is hyporesponsive or hyperresponsive, these products can help with sensory integration.
National Autistic Society. (2016, March 18). Sensory differences. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2rpf68p
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