Some children with autism and SPD love the sensation they get from certain tactile experiences.
Little man can is very tactile defensive, but also seeks out certain textures. He is a child who becomes very anxious and one who likes to fidget.
When Little man broke up from school at the end of term (autism special school) his teacher gave him a gift called a squishy mesh ball. The ball is very sensory friendly, filled with a goo like substance, the ball is covered in netting and when squeezed the ball pushes though the netting and appears all bubbly. Little man loved it!
Just over a month later I was sent a link to a website so that I could check out some products to review. The site is owned by a well known retailer called ‘Hawkin’s Bazaar’ I was overjoyed at what I discovered! So many of the products just throw themselves at me. These are toys at silly prices that many children with autism, SPD (sensory processing disorder) & ADHD would not only love but greatly benefit from. I even came across that Little squishy mesh ball, little man loves so much at the bargain price of £2.50.
I picked four items that came to a total of just £10.50 these were…
Little terrors, The Germies and Flexiface can all be found on their website under the category labelled, ‘Stress’ Here’s my opinion on why these are great for children on the spectrum!
Both Little Terrors and The Germies are toys that have been designed to offer some kind of comfort as a stress reliever. It is said that such items are beneficial because when held and squeezed it helps to naturally clam the person/child down, removing the stress, giving them something else to concentrate on.
The Child with autism get this same comfort when feeling anxious, stressed and upset. It also provides the child with some degree of sensory stimulation. It can be used to redirect certain other behaviours such as hand flapping while also working as a fidget for the child who feels the need to constantly use their hands. Just by holding one of these the child maybe able to concentrate on school work, or remain clam in a challenging, stressful situation.
Another fun thing about the Little Terrors and The Germies that make them really appealing to children, are their design. Both are designed to resemble little monsters if you like, and when squeezed both give a great sensation and visual experience. The Little terror felt as if it was filled with sand, however once sqeezed you could see it was filled with lots of little balls. If you sqeezed slowly, you could then carefully remove your hand and the balls would stay in place making it look like monster brains (if you know what I mean) well if you don’t just check out the picture below!
Little mans favourite the Fexiface can be used for all the above and so much more. This is a toy that I remember as a child. My mother brought me a Fexiface some twenty-one years ago or more when I was around eight. I remember it well, it was during a day trip to Margate, we brought it from a joke shop. The Fexiface has three little holes on the opposite side which you insert you fingers into. You can then move your fingers about which causes the fexiface to change facial expression. For such a small price this is a toy that can potentially help your child learn how to better understand facial expression. Though I’m sure Fexiface was never created for such a purpose as this, it sure does a great job at it. Myself and little man played a game where I would ask him to change the fexiface facial expression to a display a face that was happy, angry, sad, etc. We had brilliant fun and for me it brought back some lovely childhood memories.
Bath Crayons are excellent. These are great for the creative child. They come out really well and we used them on the bath room tiles. All three of the children had fun drawing on the bath room tiles while actually being allowed to do so. Little man hates sitting in the tub. Again this is for sensory reasons, he would rather stand and wash under a power shower, sitting in the bath makes his skin wrinkle which upsets him. The Croyons are a great distraction and in a way helped him to relax.
The other great thing about Bath Crayons is the fact you can use them as a visual aid. If your child uses symbols to help them sequence things, like a bath routine these are perfect. You can easy draw the symbols on the tiles, allowing your child to wipe off or even cross out each action they have carried out. A great alternative to using magnetic or Velcro visuals as despite them being made to be waterproof, the stream and condensation from the bath will eventually have an impact on this type of product.
We had great fun testing all the products and would highly recommend these toys as sensory products as they offer this feature and so much more.
So, why not check out Hawkin’s Bazaar online or visit your newest store where you will find the above and more.
Note some toys/gadgets aimed at adults only.
- Cost-free effective ways to help your child on the spectrum (aspergersinfo.wordpress.com)
- Some Sensory Success (littlefallofrain.wordpress.com)
- Chewigem review and giveway (aspergersinfo.wordpress.com)