Since April is World Autism Month, today we’ve outlined a number of products that can be helpful for individuals who live with Autism, or anyone looking to channel more calm into their lives using some of the many sensory products available today.
According to the Autism Society, over 3.5 million Americans are on the autism spectrum, and it's the fastest growing developmental disability in the country. Chances are, you or someone in your life has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (or ASD), which affects human behaviors like social interactions and relationships, and the ability to communicate feelings and emotions. Sensory tools allow users to relax and help streamline their focus, promoting calmness and decreasing anxiety. Check out the three categories of sensory products we’ve defined to see if any would be a good fit for you!
Whole Body Pressure
There are a wide range of available products that apply gentle pressure to the body, mimicking the reassuring sensation of a hug. Compression clothing, often promoted to athletes, is a great wearable option providing light pressure all day long. For home, weighted blankets provide even, calming pressure over the entire body. There are over 1300 five-star reviews for this one, and this weighted blanket is made specifically for kids. Bean bag chairs are also a wonderful option for providing full body pressure.
Since fidget spinners rocketed in popularity a few years ago, you’re probably familiar with them. Did you know they’re often used to help individuals with ASD focus by giving their hands something to do? There are many varieties available (for kids and adults alike), so look for one that features comforting textures and avoid any that may make a noise you find disruptive. Stress balls can be used to squeeze and knead, or to massage sore muscles or roll under the feet. Similarly, therapy dough is also excellent for stress relief. This aromatherapy dough packs a one-two punch with calming scents and a pliable, smooth texture.
Single Sense Focus
Products that help users to focus on one sense at a time help to alleviate the anxiety that can come from overstimulation in any environment. Noise cancelling headphones can be used with peaceful music or meditative sounds to block out any extraneous noise and make it easier to focus. A white noise machine can have a similar effect. For anyone that feels the need to chew in order to self soothe, there are jewelry items made from silicone which are safe and look discreet. Lastly, fluorescent or harsh lights can be super distracting. Look for lower watt or soft-colored lightbulbs to make your home (or a specific room) a more serene space.