Here are some tips on coping with the sensory overload caused by autism spectrum disorder.
N has had a lot of success with various fidget toys. Since it can get expensive to buy a bunch of toys that your child might not even like, we decided to do a big round-up of the ones we have tried. Please keep in mind that these are just the ones that N or one of his classmates have tried themselves. I was provided samples from the companies so we could test them, but I was not compensated in any way or influenced to alter my reviews. I am blunt to a fault so I am certainly not going to steer you wrong.
This is a very nice spinner for an older kid because its simple design that looks more “grown up”. The body of it is ceramic which makes it very smooth and cool to the touch. This is a big plus for those who like tactile stimulation, but it is also a rather heavy material. It could be very dangerous if thrown and the ball bearings inside are a chocking hazard. Please use caution with younger kids, but especially chewers.
2. Jinwen Tri Spinner
This set is perfect for beginners. It contains two spinners so you can have one for home and one for the go. Any parent can tell their own horror story of a beloved toy that went missing. However it is an even bigger deal for a special needs child who incorporates a toy into their daily routine. By simply having a spare, you can avoid a complete shutdown. These are such a good deal because it contains two spinners for around half the price of some brands. I will be honest and say that I have seen better, but they are still loads of fun. If your child loves them, you can get fancier ones later. But if she doesn’t like them, then you aren’t out too much money.
3. Henata Metal Spinner
This one is my favorite. It’s moderately priced, spins for a long time and is smaller than most of the ones on this list which makes it more comfortable for smaller hands. Plus the unique, holographic finish makes it almost hypnotic to watch it spin. N is , shall we say, fabulous so he loves the rainbow colors, but some boys would think of it as too “girly”. We don’t think that being a girl is bad so N can’t get enough of rainbows, unicorns, or pink princes. This brings up an interesting point —- since the vast majority of ASD kids are male, it is hard to find fidget toys that are marketed towards girls.
4. Focus spinner
Of the many spinners that we tried, this one spun the longest. It comes in a variety of colors so you can pick your favorite color. You do need to exercise caution with chewers because sometimes the ball bearings inside can come out.
Here is another 2 pack set. It is a very good deal for the both of them and they are better quality that the other set. They respond well to the strength of the spinner. N usually gets a 2 minute spin and Daddy is able to get a 3 and a half minute spin.
I was so excited about this one, but it was awful. The main selling point is that it has LED lights that light up when it spins. It never worked properly. It only spun for about 15 seconds and the lights never worked. I was sent a replacement and it didn’t work either. Sadly this is the most expensive one on this list and for $20 I expected it to be awesome.
Here’s another one that is rather inexpensive so it would be a great option for a beginner. N really likes the unique design and they have a few options available.
Squeeze Toys or Stress Balls
1. Gigli squishy cream scented bread 2 piece set
I have to admit that this one is my favorite. N has a Julia Child obsession so he was so excited to see these baguettes. They look exactly like the real thing. They are made out of a dense memory foam that slowly inflates back to its original form. That means that you can squeeze it as hard as you can while frustrated and then watch it grow while you calm down. It is also scented. The package calls it cream scented and it comes with two in the set.
2. Squishy cake
This one was given to one of N’s favorite classmates for his birthday. He played with the bread a few times so I knew he would love it. It is super cute, but less realistic than the baguettes. It is more like an adorable cartoon prop. This one is also scented, but in my opinion it smells better.
I hope this has been helpful and that you are able to find something that works for you.