The Best Sensory Toys For Autism

SkillEase Store

Happy Or Not
Board games and art improve involvement, motor skills, and emotion regulation in autistic kids, teaching social cues and confidence.
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Craftikit Store

Animal Crafts
Research-backed craft kit for kids with sensory issues enhances motor skills, coordination, and creativity with safe, engaging activities.
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FASHIONSPORT OUTFITTERS

Trampoline
Harvard article and ResearchGate publication highlight deep-pressure toys, like trampolines, as effective for Autism, reducing spasms and anxiety.
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Power Your Fun Store

Robo Pets Robot Dog
SAGE research shows household and pet toy sounds can help desensitize autistic children to noise, with toys like a robot dog aiding in comfort.
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Bumble Bee Sensory Pillow
Wiley Study finds vibrating sensory toys aid verbal skills in autistic children, offering deep pressure, calming effects, and social engagement.
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Caring for an autistic child can be a pain in the back because of their special needs. Whether you are a parent, doctor, or therapist, finding the best sensory toys for autism can be quite a challenge. We're here to help you make the right choice when it comes to finding these toys. Our comprehensive guide will give you all the information you need to find the perfect sensory toy for your special needs child.

Why Do You Need Sensory Toys For Autistic Children?

As explained in Maybe, It's Time You Understand And Embrace Autism, Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects the way individuals interact with their environment and process sensory input. It has been reported that 90% of those with ASD have some form of abnormal sensory experiences.[1] This means that those with Autism may require special kinds of sensory input, such as through the use of sensory toys, for them to process and respond to their environment effectively.

Sensory toys such as sensory fidget toys and softballs can help improve concentration, body awareness, and motor skills while providing comfort.[2]

Note: You may learn more about Autism in Connecting With The Autism Spectrum.

Best Sensory Toys For Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder

SkillEase Social Emotional Learning Activities, Emotions and Feelings Game for Social Skills

Happy Or Not in a post about the best sensory toys for autism

This new bingo game board includes emotion and feeling cards to be used as games for kids with sensory issues to help with social skills, emotions, and self-esteem.

Rating: 4.4/5

Why We Suggest This Product

Board games, art projects, and trivia games can increase the level of involvement and initiatives of autistic kids. Additionally, these projects can improve fine motor skills like writing, and drawing, while improving emotion regulation.

This particular board game is specifically designed to teach different emotions of people in different situations. It can also help kids relate to different social cues and develop more appropriate responses in similar situations. Moreover, this game will help them build self-confidence and self-esteem by allowing them to learn different social skills from the comfort of their homes.[3][4]

Pros

  • Allows autistic kids to learn and practice social skills in a safe environment
  • Enhances their problem-solving abilities
  • Improves their attention span
  • Improves communication skills and emotion regulation
  • Increases the ability to think and reason
  • It increases self-confidence and self-esteem

Cons

  • Using the game in isolation can lead to learning social skills in an artificial environment.
  • There is a need for constant supervision to make sure that autistic kids are following the rules of the game and not getting frustrated or overwhelmed.
  • It's not a substitute for real-life interactions, as autistic kids need to learn and practice social skills in real-life settings.

Craftikit ® Arts and Crafts for Kids

Animal Crafts in a post about the best sensory toys for autism

Craftikit offers 20 comprehensive kids' art and craft projects that are fitting for children aged three years old and above, with most 5-and-up able to do it without needing much help.

Rating: 4.8/5

Why We Suggest This Product

The above-mentioned research suggests art projects for kids with sensory issues. This specified craft kit is tailored to offer a sense of accomplishment while improving fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. It comes with easy-to-follow instructions and materials that are safe and non-toxic.

The kits include fun, engaging activities that help young children develop their skills in design, color selection, pattern making, and 3D building. Therefore, this will be an excellent sensory toy to improve creativity and mental stimulation.[5]

Pros

  • Great for sensory development
  • Improves fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination
  • Easy to use and follow instructions
  • Provides mental stimulation and encourages creativity

Cons

  • Limited color and shape options
  • Not suitable for very small children due to choking hazards
  • Some pieces may be difficult to construct.

Deep Pressure Toys

Fashion sport OUTFITTERS Trampoline with Safety Enclosure -Indoor or Outdoor Trampoline for Kids

Trampoline in a post about the best sensory toys for autism

This trampoline is made from durable, weather-resistant material and features an enclosure netting to keep kids safe. Its construction material makes it suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, and its sturdiness allows it to hold up to 220 lbs.

Rating: 4.2/5

Why We Suggest This Product

Deep-pressure toys are an increasingly popular therapeutic tool used to support autism patients. Research into our sense of touch leads to new treatments for Autism; research has exhibited that touch therapy offers a plethora of advantages to those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), including reduced muscle spasms and social uneasiness.

Trampolines are proven to be a great source of deep-pressure therapy for ASD patients. In fact, the use of trampolines is quickly becoming a widespread therapeutic tool for ASD patients. This specific product has safety features that allow it to safely support patients with low muscle tone, providing them with a safe and secure environment. Therefore we chose Fashion Sport Trampoline as the best trampoline for ASD patients.[6][7][8]

Pros

  • It's easy to assemble but may require additional tools
  • It provides deep pressure and encourages gross motor skills
  • It can be used for multiple purposes, such as bouncing, jumping, or doing exercises

Cons

  • It may take up a lot of space when assembled
  • It may not hold up well in harsher weather conditions
  • It may be challenging to keep the enclosure netting in place

Auditory Toys

Robo Pets Robot Dog Toy

toy robot dog in a post about the best sensory toys for autism

This remote control toy robot dog performs tricks, dances to the music, sits, stands, barks, and more. It is a fun toy robot that can be moved around the room.

Rating: 4.4/5

Why We Suggest This Product

For those with Autism, sounds can be an overwhelming struggle. The noises from residential home appliances and familiar pet sound-making sensory toys could actually help desensitize children who may find the sound to be distressing. By introducing these common noises in a safe and controlled way, kids are able to better manage their sensory overload. So, an auditory toy like this toy robot dog can be a great sensory toy if your kid has a phobia of noises. 

The robot dog encourages sensory exploration, helps boost confidence, and reduces fear of sudden noises. With this toy, your child can have fun and practice feeling comfortable in their surroundings at the same time.[9][10]

Pros

  • Encourages sensory exploration and boosts confidence
  • Reduces fear of sudden noises by introducing them to a safe environment

Cons

  • The noisy design may be intimidating to children who are sensitive to sounds
  • Limited range of sound effects

Vibrating Sensory Toys

Bumble Bee Sensory Vibrating Pillow, Pressure Activated for Kids and Adults

vibrating pillow in a post about the best sensory toys for autism

This is a battery-powered vibrating pillow that helps reduce stress and anxiety. It features an ultra-plush, velvety soft cover that is gentle on sensitive skin, providing even more comfort and relief for users. The pressure-activated pillow gently vibrates with a squeeze and is designed to be the perfect size for home use or take it on the go!

Rating: 4.2/5

Why We Suggest This Product

Vibrating sensory toys can provide sensory stimulation and reduce stress. They also help to provide deep pressure and calming effects. Vibrating sensory toys in aiding verbal initiations and responses for children, thereby encouraging them to participate more readily in social exchange.[11][12]

Pros

  • Soothes and reduces stress and anxiety
  • Ultra-plush velvet cover
  • Perfect home and travel size
  • Pressure activated
  • Enhances focus and concentration

Cons

  • Requires power source
  • Certain sounds may be distracting
  • It could potentially be too intense for some users
  • Not suitable for very young children

Chew Toys

Chew Necklace for Sensory Girls, Silicone Chewy Necklaces for Kids with Autism

Chew Necklaces in a post about the best sensory toys for autism

This amazing Chew Necklace set is perfect for Sensory Girls and Kids with Autism! It includes five chewy silicone necklaces in bright pink. You'll get one biscuit, one donut, one stick, one feather, and one circle for a fun and varied selection. The chew pendant textures are soft but sturdy, perfect for kids or adults who are sensitive to texture.

Rating: 4.5/5

Why We Suggest This Product

Chew toys are a type of sensory aid that can help autistic patients with self-regulation and anxiety relief. As stated by NIH, chewing on hard objects is a common stimming behavior in people with ASD, and chew toys can provide a safe outlet for this urge.

Moreover, research about autistic adults' views and experiences of stimming has revealed that stimming may alleviate overwhelming sensory input and also provide emotional stabilization from distress like anxiety in people with sensory needs.[13][14][15]

Pros

  • They help provide calming sensory input during times of stress or anxiety.
  • It can be used to develop oral motor skills like chewing, biting, and sucking.
  • Made of soft yet sturdy materials that are safe for children and adults alike.
  • They are waterproof, so you can easily clean them with soap and water after use.
  • They are highly durable and long-lasting, which makes them great value for money.

Cons

  • Not ideal for children who put objects in their mouths as they could be a choking hazard.
  • Some silicone drums may have a strong rubbery smell when new which may take time to dissipate.
  • They can get caught on clothing or hair if not properly secured behind the neck.

Special Supplies Buzz Buddy Oral Stimulation kit with 6 Soft Textured Interchangeable Heads

Oral Stimulation kit in a post about the best sensory toys for autism

The Special Supplies Buzz Buddy Oral Stimulation kit is specifically designed to help children with Autism who are sensitive to the tactile experience of their mouths and jaws. This calming oral sensory kit features a vibrating "wand" with six interchangeable heads that provide multiple ways to stimulate the mouth, lips, gums, and jaw.

Rating: 4.5/5

Why We Suggest This Product

As explained above, this product provides an effective multi-sensory solution for children with Autism. For those who struggle to regulate their emotions and behaviors, this toy can help provide a calming and soothing effect. With its combination of vibration and chewing, it helps reduce stress by providing tactile clues and stimulating sensory points. This can also help in speech therapy sessions and feeding needs by providing the necessary tactile input needed to decrease food aversion and sensitivities.[16]

Pros

  • It's an effective multi-sensory solution for children with Autism, providing tactile input to help in the regulation of their emotions and behaviors.
  • The wand combines vibration and chewing capabilities which can be effective at reducing stress through stimulating sensory points.
  • It's also suitable for speech therapy sessions and feeding needs as it provides tactile input.
  • It's made from durable materials, ensuring lasting use and value.

Cons

  • Children with more advanced sensory issues may still find it difficult to adjust to this product.
  • It may be relatively expensive compared to other oral stimulation kits on the market. 
  • It requires regular maintenance to ensure it works properly and safely over time. This could include cleaning the massage heads or changing out batteries as needed. 

Swing

Sensory Swing for Kids (Hardware Included) 

indoor kids swing in a post about the best sensory toys for autism

The Aokitec Sensory Kids Swing is the perfect way to keep your little ones relaxed and comfortable. This cocoon-like swing uses a gentle rocking motion to provide a soothing hug-like effect, giving your children the sensory input they need to stay calm and centered. It comes with all the necessary hardware for easy installation, allowing you to quickly set up the swing in any space.

Rating: 4.5/5

Why We Suggest This Product

Swinging is an excellent way to encourage gross motor skills in kids with ASD. It is a fun toy with engaging activity that promotes sensory exploration while providing the opportunity to develop balance and coordination.

PubMed studies have shown that swinging has positive effects on children with Autism. The findings of these studies suggest that swing therapy may help improve balance and coordination among individuals with autism spectrum disorders.[17][18]

Pros

  • The swing is designed to provide sensory input, which can help children with Autism to regulate their emotions and focus better in life.
  • It can help to reduce anxiety, stress, and hyperactivity by providing calming sensory input to the child while they swing.
  • It's also suitable for speech therapy sessions and feeding needs as it provides tactile input.
  • The fabric used for creating the swing is strong and durable.

Cons

  • For those who have limited space available in their home or yard, setting up the sensory swing may not be practical or possible, depending on its size and weight requirements. 
  • Due to its size and cost, some may not be able to afford the purchase price or other associated costs, such as installation fees or repairs, if necessary over time. 

Final Words

The needs of each autistic child can vary greatly, which can make it difficult for parents to know what type of sensory toys may be the most appropriate for their child. So, if you are unsure of what type of sensory toys to choose for your autistic child, do not hesitate to reach out and ask your child's occupational therapist for direction.

FAQ

What helps with Autism sensory overload?

Sensory items such as weighted blankets, pressure vests, deep-pressure massage, sensory balls, and chewable jewelry can help with autism sensory overload. However, consult with a professional for advice on what types of items will work best for them, as every individual will have different needs. Other strategies for managing sensory overload can include deep breathing, distraction techniques, and creating a calming environment.

Is sensory good for Autism?

Yes, sensory activities can be very beneficial for individuals with Autism. Sensory activities can help to both calm and stimulate the senses, as well as help the individual to focus and regulate emotions. Sensory activities can also help to reduce anxiety, provide calming effects, and offer relief from stress.

References

  1. NIH: Sensory Abnormalities in Autism Spectrum Disorders
  2. NIH: Effectiveness of Sensory Integration Involvement in Children With ASD
  3. SkillEase Social Emotional Learning Activities, Emotions and Feelings Game for Social Skills
  4. NIH: Instruments for augmentative and alternative communication for children with autism spectrum disorder
  5. Craftikit ® Arts and Crafts for Kids
  6. Fashion sport OUTFITTERS Trampoline with Safety Enclosure -Indoor or Outdoor Trampoline for Kids
  7. Harvard: Research into our sense of touch leads to new treatments for autism
  8. ResearchGate: Parent Perspectives on Sensory-Based Interventions for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
  9. Robo Pets Robot Dog Toy
  10. SAGE research: Hypersensitivity to Auditory Stimuli in Children with Autism
  11. Bumble Bee Sensory Vibrating Pillow, Pressure Activated for Kids and Adults
  12. Wiley Study: INCREASING SOCIAL INITIATIONS IN CHILDREN WITH AUTISM
  13. Chew Necklace for Sensory Girls, Silicone Chewy Necklaces for Kids with Autism
  14. NIH: Stimming behaviour in a 4-year-old girl with autism spectrum disorder
  15. NIH: Autistic adults’ views and experiences of stimming
  16. Special Supplies Buzz Buddy Oral Stimulation kit with 6 Soft Textured Interchangeable Head
  17. Sensory Swing for Kids (Hardware Included) 
  18. PubMed: Using Posturography to Examine the Immediate Effects of Vestibular Therapy for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
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