Posted on: 3 June 2016
When your child is struggling with autism spectrum disorder, finding a way to engage while introducing new skills and ideas can be a constant challenge. If your child also suffers from a sensory perception disorder, even basic therapy sessions can be overwhelming. Sensory stimulation toys can make learning and practicing skills more fun for autistic children while also presenting them in a safe and familiar manner. These are four ways incorporating sensory stimulation toys into your daily regimen can help your child develop despite the pressures of autism.
Expose Your Child to New Sensory Stimuli
Sensory stimulation toys are, as their name implies, designed to interact with your child and engage his or her senses in unique and interesting ways. Autistic children who suffer from sensory perception disorders often find it difficult or unpleasant to experience new sensations, and too much stimulation can lead to meltdowns. These toys are a non-threatening way to introduce children to potentially upsetting things like the touch of a blanket or the squeak of a rubber ball, which neurotypical individuals often take for granted.
Practice Fine Motor Skills
Autistic children often have trouble manipulating small objects and may be clumsy or drop objects frequently. Sensory stimulation toys that pose a puzzle or incorporate motion can help your child develop these skills without feeling embarrassed or risking more fragile items. Bead mazes and tangled sensory balls are some of the most popular toys for this type of therapy.
Providing an Outlet for Anxiety
Other sensory stimulation toys are not meant to improve your child's coordination but to act as a coping mechanism when situations grow too stressful. Many autistic children take comfort in squeezing stress balls when anxious, or they may prefer to hug a soft stuffed animal. No matter what your child chooses, being able to fidget or play with a toy while uncomfortable can act as an alternative to distracting or harmful behaviors while still giving your child an outlet to work through the anxiety.
Encouraging Social Interaction and Comfort
One of the primary advantages of incorporating toys into your child's therapy is that they lack the perceived pressure of other exercises. While your child may feel self-conscious during speech practice or when learning social interactions, toys are an invitation to relax and have fun. These brief interludes can be a special bonding time for you and your child and make therapy sessions a highlight of your child's day instead of something to be dreaded. If you are curious about using sensory stimulation toys either during formal therapy or at home, consult resources like Special Needs Toys Online.Share