There are many children all around the world, who are diagnosed with special needs conditions like Autism, sensory processing disorder, and ADD. As a parent, guardian, or teacher, it’s our job to help them improve their learning and overcome these challenges. Children with special needs may have a harder time with sensory stimulation, that’s where sensory toys come in.
A sensory toy is a tool that is mainly designed to stimulate one or more of a person’s senses. The toys capture their attention, whether visual or tactile, making these toys a powerful reinforcer of applied behavioral analysis.
Observe if your child likes calming activities, like escaping to a quiet space, or do they cover their ears during loud noises? If you notice this behavior in your child, it’s important to remember the impact this may have transitioning to activities in school.
There are seven sensory systems, and each is independent. There is a lot of overlap, and they all work together. When one is affected, it’s common for others to be. These sensory systems include:
Identify any sensory systems that you think need more attention, look for any patterns. If you notice one or two sensory systems continually affecting your child, you should look for toys that address that sensory system.
If your child has a few seeking or avoiding activities that need help, then proprioception is your go-to.
From here, identify if any behaviors happen at certain times or in a particular environment.
If you realise your child avoids or seeks a particular sensory input at a certain time or specific environment, take note of it and whether you feel your child requires a tool for a particular environment.
At this point, you should have identified the sensory activity your child seeks or avoids, and the sensory system you think they are trying to target. The time of day or environment that your child seeks or avoids, if any.
Choose the tool that suits your needs best.
If you’re a parent, caregiver or guardian to a child with special needs, you may find sensory toys an effective tool to help with overstimulation and lower anxiety.
To learn more about working better with patients on the spectrum or with special needs, sign up for my course or contact us today. I will go over everything you need to know to help make your interactions smoother and more successful.