Individuals with Autism often struggle with sensory issues. Sensory information includes things you can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. Sensory issues can affect all of the senses or just one, and your child may be overactive or under reactive to certain sensory stimuli. If your child is dealing with sensory issues, consider bringing home a few sensory toys to help them relieve stress or as an alternative to self-stimulatory behaviors.
Check out our staff’s top recommendations for the best sensory items, from furniture to handheld fidgets.
“One of my favorite sensory items would be the wobble chair. It’s a great active seating option for those who constantly fidget. The rocking/wobble motion allows the body to release some of that energy. It decreases other distracting or unsafe sensory-seeking behaviors and provides the extra movement they may need while sitting. From my own experience as a BCBA, providing this seating as a choice for clients in the classroom setting has improved on-task behavior and decreased out-of-seat behavior.”
– Kerry Gansworth, BCBA
“My ultimate go-to sensory toy is a fidget ring! Whether the fidget ring spins, rolls, or stretches, I want to engage with it and obtain my sensory input. Fidget rings provide sensory input to distract a busy mind when anxious and can be an alternative to nail picking or other self-stimulatory behaviors. Fidget rings not only provide the opportunity for alternative self-stimulatory behaviors but can also act as a form of stress relief, and hey, sometimes they even look pretty cute.”
– Marissa Maioran, RBT
“My favorite sensory toy is the pop tube! Not only are they a great cause-and-effect toy, but they also provide tactile and auditory stimulation and are really easy to bring on the go!”
– Brittany Painter, BCBA
“My favorite go-to sensory toys include the mesh squeeze ball or the monkey noodle. These hand-held, colorful toys provide sensory input from a quick squeeze to a full stretch, keeping hands busy and entertained. Both act as stress relievers and are easy to pack for on-the-go traveling. These toys can act as an alternative to stimulatory behavior plus they have a great calming effect and can help to reduce anxiety.”
– Lindsey DelCarlino, BCBA
“As a BCBA, I love providing my clients with the opportunity to engage with kinetic sand in the form of a sensory bin! I add spoons and other utensils for strengthening fine motor grasp, molds for the clients to build their concentration and express creativity. I will also hide small objects in the sand for the clients to dig up and find! Kinetic sand is less messy than regular sand, and it can be prescribed as calming and relaxing.”
– Meaghan Shickling, BCBA
– Xiao Wang, RBT
“A sensory body sock or weighted blanket is a great way to receive proprioceptive input. These tools can provide a calming effect to help alleviate anxiety and help the individual unwind. These items can provide pressure or weight like a hug, to an individual that may seek additional vestibular input.”
– Lindsey DelCarlino, BCBA