Having a child with autism, you will know the challenges you face on a daily basis and one of the most common of them is dealing with sensory issues your child may have. Sensory issues are where someone has an over or under sensitivity to things such as; the texture of food, the level of light and the level of sound for example that causes them discomfort that causes stress and may even cause meltdowns.
So in this article, we will be exploring ways you can help your child cope with his/her sensory issues:
1. Build a sensory room for your child
A Sensory room is a room that provides sensory stimulation; usually this is achieved by using special lighting, low level music and maybe even textured walls.
I know that a lot of people seeing this will bring up “the fact” that a sensory room is really expensive to build, this is because when a company builds them for use in places like schools and care homes they will often use a specialist supplier for the equipment used and due to supply and demand the specialist supplier can get away with charging huge amounts of money.
So when you are building your own sensory room you can use non-specialist equipment such as:
Instead of a pattern projector order a RGB bulb (Easier to install and available for around £10)
Get a stranded bubble light tube and fix it into place with wood (Yes some DIY skills will help)
2. Get a pair of sunglasses
If your child squints at light then getting a pair of sunglasses may be a good idea. Personally I would recommend category 3 or 4 sunglasses depending, and you should ideally let your child try on multiple pairs of sunglasses in order to see which ones they like the most.
Extra fact: Make sure the sunglasses also have UV protection so they also protect the child’s eyes.
3. Get some ear defenders
If your child covers their ears or shows any signs of discomfort when around sources of loud noises then buying some ear defenders might help them cope better as ear defenders reduce sound levels.
For older kids/teenagers I recommend the Silverline 633816 which cost less than £10 and reduce sound levels by up to 30db but unfortunately are not adjustable.
Important note: Wearing ear defenders will make it harder for your child to listen to any cars, so when crossing the road make sure you keep a close eye on them.
4. Cutting labels out of clothes
Labels may cause an itchy sensation at the back of your child’s neck and this may add to any stresses they already have. Cutting the labels out of clothes may make your child much happier but make sure you don’t cause too much damage to the cloths as the labels are often sown into the main stitching for the collier.
5. Get a weighted blanket
Some children with autism have trouble sleeping at night; one thing that might help those kids is a weighted blanket as the extra weight provides security and comfort thus helps them sleep better.
You can easier buy them online or if you are skilful with sewing you can even have a go at making your own weighted blanket as there are plenty of people online offering instructions about making them such as wikihow.
6. Get some sensory toys
You child with autism might want something that can be taken any ware but is also effective at providing sensory stimulation and this is where sensory toys can be the perfect thing to take along with you.
Sensory toys come in all shapes and sizes and choosing the right one can really help your autistic child to stay calm.
For oral sensory stimulation; chewelry or Chewy Tube will give your autistic child something to chew on without damaging cloths or any other items.
For tactile sensory stimulation; a cheap option are spiky light up balls that can be found on eBay for less than £2 (or even for less than £1 if you are prepared to wait for it to arrive from china), these will provide fantastic tactile feedback and will also provide Visual Feedback from the flashing light inside.
For auditory sensory stimulation; you want something that will make a repetitive sound such and a simple way to is to give your child a rattle or a clapper even tho this may be embarrassing for your child if they use it in public so it is best that rattles and clappers are used in your own home.
7. Get some modelling compounds
People with autism often like to get sensory stimulation though tactile feedback and a good way of getting that tactile feedback is to play with modelling compounds such as Play-Doh as the texture that the modelling compound gives when it goes though someone’s fingers is an interesting combination of smooth and rough at the same time.
Modelling compounds also help you to distract your autistic child for a short period of time if they are stressed.
I hope you enjoyed this list, if you have any feedback don’t forget to live it below in the comments and please don’t forget to share this article with your friends.
Snoezelruimte.JPG By Ciell (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons
Cryptic clothing label.jpg By 邰秉宥 from Changhua, Taiwan (Cryptic clothing label) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Spot claimed & picnic blanket laid out by Jeff Robbins [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]
Busy board by Linearahandmade.etsy.com [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]
Play dough 04762.jpg By Nevit Dilmen (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons