How do sensory toys help children with autism?
Many children around the globe are diagnosed with autism. Being a parent, guardian, or teacher, it’s your responsibility to help them improve their learning and overcome their issues.
Children with autism tend to have trouble grasping things with sensory stimulation. They have special needs that require you to pay more attention to, such as different behaviors and unexplained feelings towards strangers and unknown events. They also tend to gaze over some things that healthy children don’t notice. It can be due to a tiny sound of other elements or unfamiliar faces.
It’s a challenge to identify what things affect them quickly and how to interact without making them feel awkward and afraid.
What are Sensory Toys?
Sensory toys are specially-made toys for children to help them develop their physical and mental abilities. It’s a way to stimulate any of the five senses which are sight, touch, smell, hearing, and taste. Most sensory toys for kids are a great solution to help children with autism. It’s one way to engage their senses in a less distracting way, which is useful in dealing with their current health condition.
Benefits of Sensory Toys for Children with Autism
• Sensory toys help them to relax, focus and calm down to a particular scenario or event.
• It helps them grasp things with decreased fear and discomfort and enables them to play naturally.
• Sensory toys for kids help them develop social learning skills like planning, negotiating, and sharing.
• It helps them develop their gross motor skills such as picking large and small objects and understanding rules and activities.
• These toys stimulate the brain by creating neurological pathways to improve their neural processing systems.
• It improves their social skills like conveying a conversation with other people.
• Enhances their coordination.
Engaging children with sensory toys is an excellent opportunity to enhance and develop the child’s motor skills. The following are a few of the top sensory toys and activities that help children with autism.
1. Scented Clay
Scented clay is one way to enhance their sense of smell and touch. Make or purchase a large portion of clay or playdough. Create small pieces of it and put them into separate bowls. Start mixing different ingredients into a pot to create pleasant smells such as cinnamon, vanilla essence, ginger, or lemon juice. You may also add food coloring to create an attractive look.
2. Footprint Painting Activities
Prepare a large paper and some painting materials, as well as towels and water for hand and feet cleaning. Try to build a particular scenario like big circles and encourage the children to create petals by using their feet, or let them do whatever they want to create.
You can purchase or create slime for them to enjoy. It promotes a sense of touch by crossing the feelings between solid and liquid components. If you prefer to create a DIY slime, prepare a big container, get cornflour and water, and aim for a slime consistency.
There are different sensory activities that can promote the use of the five senses. Identify which works the best, and what activities should be avoided. Those mentioned above are just a few of the ways, so it still depends on the child’s current condition. You may get creative with the sensory toys, but never forget the love and attention they need.