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How Sensory Toys Help Children with Autism


Children with autism or who are on the spectrum for this kind of disorder can present a significant challenge for parents. Autistic children tend to need a great deal more attention and assistance in their development, but for many parents it is very hard to know how best to do that. Not only is every child’s case a bit different, but there are myriad different opinions on how best to help them. This can leave parents feeling more lost than when they had no information before.


One tool that has proven very useful is sensory toys for autistic kids. Not only are they very appealing to children on the spectrum, but they bring a number of other benefits for autistic kids’ development. If you’ve ever wondered about the value of sensory toys for kids on the spectrum, then read on below.


1. They Help with Sensory Processing Disorder

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is a separate issue from autism but is quite common in those children who are diagnosed as being on the spectrum. It causes young children to misinterpret sensory experiences such as sound and touch. One of the effects of SPD is that it causes children to become increasingly wary of situations in which certain senses can be triggered.


Sensory toys are useful for this symptom because it gives these children control over what senses and sensory experiences they want to explore at any particular time or on any day. Sensory play also expands beyond the five main senses and allows children to explore both balance and body awareness, which brings us to the next benefit.


2. Sensory Toys Help Develop Physical as Well as Cognitive Development

Some people think of sensory toys as being integral simply in helping autistic children to develop cognitively and creatively, but in fact they also can gain a great deal of physical benefit from these toys. Toys that promote body awareness and balance are very useful for the development of gross motor skills. These refer to ‘big’ physical movements like running and jumping, all of which are needed for austic children struggling with multiple aspects of development.


Besides those that promote gross motor skills, others encourage children to work on their fine motor skills, which refer to those more intricate physical skills that normally involve our hands and opposable thumbs. For kids, this includes things like using cutlery, writing with a pen, using crayons, pencils, rulers, scissors and other art and craft tools. Sensory toys make developing these skills more enjoyable.


3. They Can Help Build Skills in Concentration and Maintaining Attention

Some children on the spectrum can suffer academically later on because they don’t have any means through which to channel their unique focus and thoughts. It can lead to what some teachers would describe as fidgety, with kids quickly losing interest or concentration. In fact, this energy can be channeled into special sensory tools and toys that give these children the sensory input they want but without distracting them.


4. They Help Kids Make Sense of the World Around Them

Kids on the spectrum often have trouble making sense of their world. Lots of things that most of us take for granted from childhood can appear alien and worrying to them. Sensory toys are a medium through which these kids can explore that world and start to make sense of it. As they do, it becomes less intimidating and less of a place that can ultimately hold them back in life.


For these reasons and more, parents with autistic kids or children on the spectrum should make sensory toys a normal part of their kids’ daily play from as young an age as possible.

Business Daily Media