Sensory toys designed for children with autism can provide a range of benefits, from helping to develop fine motor skills to promoting relaxation and stress relief.
According to the National Autistic Society, there are around 700,000 autistic adults and children in the UK. For parents of children with autism, we know that finding appropriate toys that can help improve sensory processing skills can be challenging.
Here you’ll find the 10 best sensory toys that can be beneficial for children with autism. These toys offer tactile, auditory, visual, and oral stimulation to help children with autism develop their sensory processing skills and engage with the world around them.
1. Sensory Mats
Sensory mats are excellent tools for children with autism to explore different textures and develop sensory awareness. These mats can include a variety of textures, such as fluffy, bumpy, smooth, and furry.
They can also be used for sensory play and exploration, encouraging children to use their hands and feet to touch and manipulate the different textures. Sensory mats can even help children improve language and communication skills as they describe the sensations they experience.
2. Chew Toys
Chew toys are beneficial for children with autism as they can help with sensory processing and self-regulation. They provide a safe and appropriate outlet for children to satisfy their oral motor needs, which can reduce anxiety, stress, and agitation.
Chew toys can also be used to improve jaw strength and chewing abilities. The different textures of chew toys provide sensory stimulation, helping children focus and stay calm.
3. Sand, Slime, or Putty
Sand, slime, or putty are great sensory toys that encourage exploration and creativity while developing fine motor skills. Children can mould and shape the substance, which provides a satisfying sensory experience.
These substances also come in a variety of colours, textures, and scents, which can enhance sensory stimulation. Sand, slime, and putty can also be used to improve hand strength, finger dexterity and hand-eye coordination.
4. Rainmaker Toys
Rainmaker toys are a great way to provide auditory stimulation and promote relaxation. The sound of falling beads simulates the sound of rain. For some children with autism, this sound can be very soothing and calming.
The colourful beads inside the toy provide visual stimulation, which can help to engage multiple senses at once. Rainmaker toys can be used to improve auditory processing, attention span and social interaction.
5. Pin Art
Pin artboards are an excellent sensory tool that promotes tactile exploration and visual perception. Children can use their hands and fingers to create impressions on the board, stimulating the sense of touch.
Pin artboards also come in various sizes, shapes, and colours, making them visually appealing and engaging. You’ll easily be able to find one that suits the likes and dislikes of your own child. Playing with pin artboards can help with hand-eye coordination, finger isolation and fine motor skills.
6. Fidget Spinners
Fidget spinners can be useful for children with autism as they provide a tactile experience that can improve focus and concentration. The repetitive motion of spinning the toy can be soothing for children who may be experiencing anxiety or stress.
Fidget spinners also come in different shapes and designs. This makes them even more visually appealing and engaging. Hand-eye coordination, finger dexterity and fine motor skills can all be improved by playing with fidget spinners.
7. Electric Dog Pet
Interactive robot toys, such as the Electronic Pet Dog, can be beneficial for children with autism as they provide a non-threatening way to interact with others and improve social skills.
The Electronic Pet Dog (or any other similar toy) responds to touch and prompts social interaction. This can help children with autism improve their social skills and become more comfortable in social situations. They can also help with auditory processing and sound desensitisation.
8. Senseez Vibrating Cushion
The Senseez Vibrating Cushion is a unique therapeutic tool that has proven to be particularly effective for children with autism. The cushion is designed to provide gentle vibrations that can help the child feel more calm and relaxed. This can be especially helpful during times of stress or anxiety.
The sensory stimulation provided by the cushion can help the child feel more grounded and centred, allowing them to focus better on the task at hand. The cushion’s compact size makes it easy to carry around, so it can be used at home, in the classroom or on-the-go.
9. Reflective Balls
Sensory reflective balls can be a valuable tool in developing the visual sense of children with autism, who may have difficulty processing visual information. Studies have shown that children with ADHD and autism tend to have reduced visual processing abilities, which can impact their overall development.
These reflective balls offer a fun and engaging way for children to improve their visual perception skills. By using these balls in various activities, such as tossing, rolling or catching, children can enhance their hand-eye coordination and tracking abilities.
10. Body Sox
Body Sox is an interactive toy that offers deep pressure input, a sensory input that can help children with autism feel more calm and centred. The Body Sox has a snug fit of the lycra sock that creates a sense of comfort and security. Additionally, the Body Sox can also enhance body awareness, coordination, and balance, making it a versatile and beneficial tool for children with autism.
Learn More About Residential Care and Supported Living
At Liaise we don’t just provide specialist care and support, we empower people to live richer lives. Our mission is to enrich the lives of people with autism and support them in living happy, purposeful lives.
Through our residential care and supported living services, people with autism can learn, work and create lifelong friendships in a positive, structured environment.
We are here to provide guidance and support to you and your family. To learn more about our support living and support residential care services, do not hesitate to contact our friendly team.