The Comprehensive Guide to Sensory Play for Autism

Sensory Play for Autism Children:

Participating in sensory experiences holds tremendous significance for children diagnosed with autism. Understanding and managing their senses can be challenging for them, often leading to overwhelming feelings, anxiety, or frustration. This is where engaging in sensory play proves beneficial.

Sensory play for autism involves activities and experiences that engage a child’s senses, such as touch, sight, sound, smell, and taste, in a structured and intentional way. Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often experience sensory processing challenges, which means they may have difficulty processing and responding to sensory stimuli in their environment. Sensory play can help address these challenges by providing opportunities for sensory exploration and regulation.

Here are some key aspects of sensory play for autism:

  • Tactile Sensory Play: This involves activities that engage the sense of touch. Examples include playing with textured materials like sand, water beads, slime, or various fabrics.
  • Visual Sensory Play: Activities that focus on visual stimulation can include using different colors, lights, and visual patterns. Visual sensory play can help improve visual processing skills.
  • Auditory Sensory Play: Activities that involve sound and music can be beneficial. This may include playing with musical instruments, listening to calming sounds, or engaging in activities that promote auditory discrimination.
  • Olfactory Sensory Play: Involves engaging the sense of smell. This can include scented playdough, scented oils, or other activities that involve pleasant smells.
  • Gustatory Sensory Play: While taste can be a bit more challenging to incorporate safely, some children may benefit from exploring different tastes, textures, and temperatures through appropriate food-based activities.
  • Proprioceptive and Vestibular Sensory Play: These activities focus on the body’s awareness of its position in space and movement. Swinging, jumping on a trampoline, or engaging in activities that provide deep pressure can be examples.
  • Calming Sensory Play: Some sensory activities are designed to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety. These might include activities like using a sensory brush, playing with stress balls, or engaging in slow, rhythmic movements.

It’s important to note that each child with autism is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Observing a child’s responses to different sensory experiences and tailoring activities to their specific needs is crucial. Additionally, consulting with occupational therapists or other professionals experienced in working with children with autism can provide valuable insights and guidance for implementing effective sensory play strategies

Sensory activities create a secure environment for autistic children to explore various sensations in a controlled manner. Through tactile, gustatory, olfactory, and auditory engagements, they can gain insights into the world around them. Sensory play serves as an effective means for them to acquire new skills, enhance focus, and engage socially with peers or supportive individuals who share similar interests.

For those intrigued by the positive impact of sensory play on autistic children, here are several benefits to delve into.

When caring for a child with autism, it’s crucial to identify sensory triggers, both indoors and outdoors. Experiment with various activities to find those that suit each child’s comfort level. What works for one autistic child may not for another, so understanding their preferences is key to promoting their well-being.

These autism-friendly sensory activities are not only enjoyable but can also involve the entire household, fostering a strong bond with your foster child, regardless of age.

  • Messy Masterpieces- Finger and Footprint Art: Embrace the mess as your foster children express themselves by creating paintings using their hands and feet. Lay out paper on newspaper or tarpaulin to contain the creative chaos.
  • DIY Sensory Slime: Transform cornflour and water into a fascinating substance that shifts from solid to liquid as it’s manipulated. Add food coloring and glitter to enhance the sensory experience.
  • Aromatherapy Playdough: Create scented playdough by incorporating fragrances like lemon juice, vanilla extract, cinnamon, or peppermint. Encourage your foster children to guess the scents, but ensure they resist the temptation to taste their creations.
  • Outdoor Mud Kitchen Adventure: Opt for outdoor sensory fun with a mud kitchen, where children can experiment, create, and play with mud, water, bowls, and utensils. Whether baking imaginary cakes or simply enjoying the tactile sensation, there’s something for everyone.
  • Make Your Own Musical Instruments: Foster creativity by making DIY musical instruments. Craft a shaker with rice-filled plastic bottles, fashion a drum set using wooden spoons and buckets, or create a straw recorder. The possibilities are endless.
  • Sensory Ocean Exploration: Construct a sensory ocean by filling a shallow container with sand on one side and water on the other. Include shells, toy fish, and other ocean-themed items for an immersive underwater experience.
  • Edible Art- Painting with Food: Explore edible sensory activities with soft and squishy foods like chocolate sauce, blackberries, apple puree, and yogurt. Foster a multisensory experience that engages sight, smell, and taste.
  • Satisfying Water Beads: Introduce non-toxic water beads that provide a satisfying squishy sensation. Enhance the experience by placing half in the fridge for a contrast between cold and warm textures.
  • Toys in Jelly Adventure: Combine play and taste with toys hidden in bowls of jelly. Pour the jelly solution into various molds, chill, and let children explore the soft, wobbly texture to retrieve the hidden treasures.
  • Colorful Pouring Station: Set up a quick pouring station by filling different-sized bottles, jugs, cups, and containers with water. Place them in a bathtub or on a large tray, adding food coloring for an extra visual element. Encourage children to pour water, mix colors, and develop fine motor skills in this engaging activity.

P Homecare is a NDIS registered provider, specializes in offering social support to people with autism, regardless of age or ability. Our goal is to enhance independence, foster relationships, facilitate learning, and ensure an enjoyable experience for all!

Explore the possibility of connecting your child with a local Social Carer (support worker) who shares similar interests and hobbies. These dedicated individuals can assist with a range of activities, including exercise, arts & crafts, transportation, household tasks, and more. With P Homecare, you have the freedom to choose the right person for your needs, determine the activities they assist with, and decide when it all takes place!

Please feel to contact us at 1800 571 955/ ndis@phomecare.com.au

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