The role of sensory toys in today’s society has only grown in importance over recent years. Presently, we possess a greater understanding of the different needs and requirements children with special educational needs have, making the role of these often simple looking devices, more complex and crucial than ever before.
It is common sense to assume that the right toy has the power to capture a child’s attention. In the case of children with autism, sensory toys can often provide valuable sensory feedback that many children crave – be it auditory or olfactory, oral-motor, visual or tactile.
These toys, when used correctly, provide the opportunity to act as a powerful reward in behavioural analysis programs and despite every child on the autistic spectrum having different needs and requirements, light-up toys, squishy toys and spinning toys often prove to be the most effective tools in helping to reduce instances of anxiety while increasing concentration.
For a child with autism, stressful environments can easily lead to a heightened state of being, causing difficulty with attainment and learning in school. Sensory play that relaxes an autistic child will benefit them both in the short and long term so finding the correct toy is key in their educational development.
Sensory play not only helps to build nerve connections in the brain that can help children overcome complex learning tasks, but also calms frustrated learners in classroom, home and new environments. As previously listed, the type of sensory toy required for every child will differ depending on where they place on the autistic spectrum. It is worth researching the different characteristics of these categories to ensure you have the correct toys for the sensory play required.
Of course, it is not only children on the autistic spectrum that can utilise these toys. Children with conditions such as ADHD, can also benefit tremendously through the correct sensory toy.
Fidget toys, such as the popularised fidget spinner, is a perfect example of how these fun yet simple items can improve concentration in the classroom for those who need to keep their hands busy in order to listen and respond appropriately. Acting as a stress-relieving toy, spinners and fidget devices of similar design, have grown massively in popularity throughout the past five years, becoming a common sight in classrooms up and down the country.