Parents of children with diverse and complex learning needs find real benefit from the use of sensory toys. Sensory toys offer children an opportunity to work on dexterity, to push through challenging emotional responses and to enjoy themselves in a way that a lot of other toys and items cannot.
What Benefits Do Sensory Toys Provide?
Sensory activities such as chewing, twirling and fidgeting are often sought out by children (and adults) with an autism spectrum disorder. Specific experiences with sensory items may soothe, reassure or enhance their ability to learn and take in what is going on around them. For example, if given a sensory toy to hold at mat time a child with ASD may sit for longer, concentrate better, be less disruptive to peers, be calmer and have reduced anxiety levels.
Sensory meltdowns often occur when a child is overwhelmed by their environment. Developing a ‘go to’ stock of sensory toys means that there are options for parents who are looking to reassure their children and replace the recurrence of possibly negative or dangerous sensory driven behaviour. This behaviour could take on a number of forms and is unique to each child.
Creating a safe space in your home via the use of sensory toys and activities can provide an avenue by which your child can not only potentially learn to self soothe but where they are able to express the gamut of confusing emotions that they may be experiencing
What Kinds of Toys are Sensory Toys?
Chew toys, sensory bands, stress balls and other malleable toys can provide sensory relief to children with diverse learning needs. Think anything fidgety or that is able to be easily manipulated. Sensory toys provide much needed relief and distraction – plus they’re fun too!
Sensory Toys for Everyone
Adults and children alike benefit from the use of sensory toys. They’re helpful when processing stress or anxiety and they provide a unique distraction from complex emotions or overwhelming sensory stimulation, It and when required. The fidget spinner craze a number of years ago demonstrated the popularity of sensory toys as a means of releasing pent up stress
How to Make the Most of Sensory Toys in your Home
Why not build a sensory corner or retreat for your child or children? This might be a soft, safe space with cushions and blankets, stocked with toys and other calming materials, where your child can retreat to in order to relax and avoid sensory meltdown
Using Sensory Toys for Children
Experiment with a range of sensory toys to see what appeals to your child- sensory assistance is not simply a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Allow your child to have autonomy of choice when it comes to the selection of a sensory toy and work with them to come
up with a best practice solution of how to use it in their everyday life.