Most people with a diagnosis of autism will struggle to regulate their sensory input and may over or under react to auditory, tactile or aural input to the point that it affects their everyday life. Trying to help or teach our children how to self-regulate is important to help them manage their emotions and calm anxieties. Every child is different. regardless of diagnosis and finding what works best for your child can be a bit of trial and error. When thinking about what you can add to your own home to help your child self-regulate its often helpful to find a public sensory room in your area and spend some time observing what your child seems to drawn to the most. Obviously, it would be great if we all had the space and money to add a big, fully equipped sensory room to our homes but this isn’t often possible. There are many things that can be bought fairly inexpensively from specialist shops and thing like children’s ball pools and light up toys can be sourced from lots of high street bargain shops too.
There are however always things that can be made at home too, for example:
• Old school rain makers made from empty bottles and rice
• A large cardboard box and a string of battery power fairy lights make a great sensory cave!
• Lengths of fabric/scarves
• Glitter snow globe made from an empty bottle
• Wooden building blocks
• Different textured materials stuck on to blocks
• Coloured rice
• Messy play
• Activity boards
• Tag blankets
Depending on whether your child is a sensory seeker or sensory avoider or even a mix of both will ultimately denote what works best for you. Lots of children find comfort in the most mundane household items, Luca was particularly attached to the bath plug and carried it around for 2 years straight. I’m just pleased it was something he could easily carry…. could you imagine going out the house with a toaster or something tucked under your kids’ arm? (my thoughts are with anyone who is going through this)
Pinterest is always a good source of info for handmade crafts, check out a few ideas for homemade sensory toys here.