Until a few months ago I knew nothing about sensory disorders. I had come into contact with a few people on the Autism spectrum before but I had no idea what that meant or how it affected them.
When my brother called to tell me that his 2 year old daughter was being evaluated for sensory disorders I was confused and scared. What was wrong with her? What happened? Could it be fixed? Oh, naive Anna. Nothing was wrong with her. Nothing happened. She didn’t need “fixing”. She needed to be understood. She needed to be surrounded with love and support and an environment that made it easier for her to thrive.
Unfortunately I live 2000 miles away from this sweet niece of mine. I have tried to educate myself more about her world and how she operates. Since I can’t be the hands-on aunt from across the country, I have found that my responsibility is simply to learn and to share what I have learned. It isn’t much, but what I can share now is a collaboration of gift ideas that are educational and therapeutic. So here are a wide variety of gift ideas for children with sensory disorders:
Less than $10
- Liquid Motion Bubbler – A visual stimulant. You turn it over to watch the colorful bubbles float around (looks like a lava lamp).
- Stress Balls – There are smooth ones as well as spiny ones or other textures. Some kids may have a strong dislike for a certain texture so be aware of this.
- Pop Tubes – Colorful tubes that connect together and make popping sounds while being bent and connected.
- Funbites food cutters– Many children with sensory processing issues enjoy order and organizing. The square food cutter is great for this as it makes their bites all the same size and shape. There are a few options for other shapes as well.
- Sensory bins (so easy to make your own!)– Create themes for the child’s current interest or reinforce school curriculum/units.
- Bubble Machine– My niece loves to watch things fall!
- Button Art – Matches colors and patterns to make pictures. Another great one for kids who are orderly.
- Weighted Lizard – Many children are comforted by heavier objects, weight, and pressure.
- Rody horse – Bouncing is fun. For anyone.
- Joint Co Motion – These are suits designed to comfort and help the child understand where they are in space.
- Ikea Ekorre Swing – Another confining space item, great for indoors or outdoors. This swing has a cocoon-type feel to it.
- Folding Trampoline – Great therapy for all kids!
- Weighted Compression Vest – Another tool for calming. The weight and compression can be very soothing.
I hope you find this list helpful for the exceptional children in your life!
What would you add to the list?