It’s Autism Awareness Month! Check Out These Toys Great for Kids on the Spectrum

Image via Flickr/ hepingting

Kids want to be kids, whether they are on the autism spectrum or not. As the mother of a child on the autism spectrum, for Autism Awareness Month I wanted to share some toys that can be particularly helpful for children with autism.  

Tactile Seekers: Fun, creative play is endless with the Educational Insights Playfoam Classic 4 pack. Your little one can create shapes then squash it back down and start over without ever making a mess. Playfoam never dries out or becomes sticky, can be taken anywhere and is non-toxic.  It's also budget-friendly with an eight-pack running under $10.00.

Oral Seekers: Made of safe silicone with multiple textures, HABA's Clutching Toy Caterpillar is perfect for grasping and mouthing. It's also small enough to fit into a pocket making it a great choice for taking on-the-go. It's under $10.00 and also available as a butterfly.

Fear of Bath time:  SoapSox was originally developed after CEO/founder Ray Phillips was working with children of trauma in a residential treatment facility and noticed that one of the most difficult times of the day was bath time. Many Autistic children also fear water and bath time and SoapSox gives kids a cuddly companion to take in the tub with them to ease their fears. A unique soap pocket also transforms SoapSox into sudsy washcloth ­so you can bathe your child without them noticing you are using soap. SoapSox come in over a dozen styles (including Disney characters) and sell for around $13.00.  

Auditory Seekers: Playgro's Bead Buddy Giraffe is the perfect sized friend for little hands to grip and shake, with colorful rattling beads and a click-clack spinning handle to provide lots of auditory stimulation and it's under $6.00.

Water Sensitivities: For many kids with sensory issues, fear of the water is something they can't control. Give little ones the control and keep the water flowing without the worry of the hot water burns with Yookidoo's Spin N' Sort Spout Pro. This automatic spout attaches to the tub to draw water up and create an endless stream. Three interchangeable tumblers each with a different spouting action offer a variety of ways to play and experiment with water and a spinning gear for added fun. The Spin N' Sort can help kids acclimate to the water or distract them during bath time.   It packs a lot of fun for under $30.00. 

{ MORE: Does This Study Help Doctors Understand Possible Causes of Autism? }

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Compression Seeking: An early sign of babies with sensory processing disorder is that they are uncomfortable if not swaddled tightly. Miracle Blanket's pediatrician recommended, patented design allows parents to effortlessly recreate the tight quarters of the womb with a perfect swaddle every time- even in the dark! Babies will sleep deeper and for longer periods of time. Even neuro-typical babies will like the firmness of the Miracle Blanket.  

Communication Seekers: Some kids on the autism spectrum find it difficult to interact with people or talk to loved ones on the phone. Bluebee Pals help bridge the gap by turning passive viewing on a screen to an interactive experience by allowing the adorable Bluebee Pal to “talk” or “read” to a child encourage communication, language use, attentiveness, sensory processing, and positive behaviors.

Mood Questioners: Children on the spectrum sometimes experience challenges reading others' expressions. The NeatOh! Magnutto Make a Mood Educational Magnetic Activity Playset for under $25.00 gives kids practice in identifying, and making their own, facial expressions all in a small, accessible package.  

The Wanderer: Although not technically a toy, The Joey Tag is a simple bracelet with a short-range GPS that alerts both you and your child if they wander out of range. You can also use the Joey Tag to pinpoint the exact location of your child or buzz them from your phone to let them know they have gone too far. That means you can let your child have a little more freedom or simply go out on family excursions with more peace of mind.  

{ MORE: Daycare Burnout: When Your Little One Needs a Break }

Do you have any other toy suggestions for kids on the autism spectrum?

What do you think?

It’s Autism Awareness Month! Check Out These Toys Great for Kids on the Spectrum

Jamie is a Beltway Insider who loves channeling her pre-motherhood love of traveling into spending time exploring all D.C. has to offer with her brood of two girls and two boys ages 9, 7,5, and a baby. She is a reformed lawyer turned full-time kid wrangler who enjoys photographing her everyday chaos and anything salted caramel. Since life is never dull, she loves writing about the issues and events going on in her life at any given time, including caring for a daughter with special needs and th ... More

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