Autism or ADHD can make it difficult for children to make new friends and enjoy the fresh smell of freshly sharpened pencils at school. After speaking to Mary Cunniff, a decades-serving specialist in occupational therapy and special needs education in Massachusetts, we’ve assembled this list of 12 essential school supplies that may comfort those with any kind of neurodivergence on the ASD spectrum. These tools are as useful as crayons and markers, but they can be as simple as fidget toys or calm strips.

1. Hand fidget toys, pens and pencils

The Sensory Marbles and Mesh Fidgets will appeal to anyone who likes to touch their fingers or needs an eye-catching color to grab their attention.

Access to a wide range of fidget toys is crucial for children with autism or ADHD to make school easier. This is a highly rated product. fidget toy set from AustorThe small marble ($16) is housed in a tactile nylon pouch that can bend, squeeze, twist, or do any other motions that will help your child focus, despite their active hands. This pack includes 20 multicolored toys. You should have enough fidgets to last you the first few months. A fidget pen like this might also be helpful for similar reasons. six pack from Abhay ($13). You can also purchase a pack of fidget pencil toppersThese add sensory feedback to any standard pencil.

$16 at Amazon

$13 at Amazon

2. A discreet fidget maze

Green and blue colored Busy Fingers Marble Maze Set.

Credit: Reviewed/Fun and Function

This maze has a soft feel and can be placed on the lap of your child.

These discreet fidget mazes from Fun and FunctionThey are a great alternative to smaller toys. The small, weighted marble and sensory-rich fabric are great for children who are easily distracted. This product is a combination of a blanket and small objects to keep children occupied. There are many fidget mazes to choose from, but our experts preferred this two-pack because it was discreet enough not to distract during school hours. This repetitive, manipulative task can be done by children without distracting from an important lesson.

$17 at Amazon

3. Buzz Buddy is an oral stimulation device

Person holding Oral Stimulation kit with 6 Soft Textured Interchangeable Heads that are multi-colored and of different textures for sensory needs.

Credit: Reviewed / Special Products

You can choose from six interchangeable brush heads to soothe your soul and entertain.

This is for children who need speech or feeding therapy. Buzz Buddy from Special SuppliesIt can be used to stimulate the oral nerves and prepare them for eating or talking in new ways. This set includes a vibrating bottom and six interchangeable heads. The user can choose the sensation that is most comfortable. There are three vibration modes available once the head is turned on: low, high, or pulsating. The device even comes with a slick carrying case to ensure its pieces don’t get lost. Buy a standard electric toothbrushBuzz Buddy might offer similar benefits in an emergency, but Buzz Buddy has a lot of happy owners and is rated highly for its customer support.

$45 at Amazon

4. A small, weighted blanket or lap pad

Child using the Writable Weighted Lap Pad to write colorful letters on cloth material.

Credit: Reviewed /LakiKid

The Writable Weighted Pad for Travel is great for classroom use and travel.

For adults and children who frequently experience anxiety, weighted blankets can be a source of comfort. 3-pound version from LakiKidThis smart purchase is worth the $50 Its light weight makes it comfortable but not too heavy to make your child drowsy in class. And, in case the weight of the blanket isn’t enough to reduce fidgets, it’s possible to draw on the pad using a special water pen. It’s wipeable, washable, and capable of keeping your child calm when stimuli might otherwise be uncomfortable. If you feel that the drawing feature might be distracting, you can always purchase a more. traditional small weighted blanket ($18) instead.

$50 at Amazon

$18 at Amazon

5. Use headphones or earplugs to muffle the sound

Set of Loop Experience Pro Earplugs next to box and carrying case.

Credit: Loop

These earplugs are designed to reduce noise from loud noises.

People with autism or ADHD may be sensitive to loud noises, making a pair of earplugs a sensible back-to-school companion if they’re about to enter a classroom with as many as 30 screaming children. We’re partial to these Loop Experience Pro earplugsIt did well in our accessibility testing. We love the fact that the Experience Pros reduce sound by up to 23 decibels but don’t try to block it entirely. This is a great feature for school. These buds are discreet and multi-sized, making them far less noticeable than traditional noise-canceling headphones. These earplugs offer a more tailored sound-reducing result that won’t break the bank.

$36 at Amazon

6. Lycra fabric or Lycra body socks

Black Sanho Yopo Dynamic Movement Sensory Sock with colorful edges.

Credit: Reviewed / Sanho

Lycra is a strong, machine-washable fabric.

Stretchy Lycra fabric can be a soothing sensory tool for those with autism or who need to feel calm. This product is a result of that fact. Sanho Sensory SockIt is best used for overnight wear or around the house to keep your child comfortable during the school transition. You can also buy it if you are in a hurry. 2 yards of Lycra fabricRoll your child up in the material, like a burrito. It’s not as silly as it sounds, but sometimes this process provides the right type of sensory and security feedback that children love.

$30 at Amazon

7. Anxiety coloring pages

Book cover of the Magical Planet Anxiety Relief Coloring Book

Credit: Reviewed by Magical Planet

The Anxiety Relief Coloring book will help you get lost in the pages.

Coloring pages can be a relaxing task for younger children, but they can also be helpful for teens and adults. That’s where products like this Anxiety Relief Coloring Book from Magical PlanetYou can order them here. For just a few dollars, you’ll get a collection of 34 black-and-white prints for your coloring pleasure. It can be a soothing and satisfying process to fill in small, specific areas with a new color when an adult or child with ADHD feels insecure. Coloring is a great way to distract from the outside world when it can seem overwhelming. This book easily slides into any backpack, ready to be accessed at a moment’s notice.

$8 at Amazon

8. Velcro or calm strips for simple soothing

Hand pulling on a multi-colored Calm Strips for Anxiety Sensory Sticker.

Credit: Yunfly / Reviewed

These velcro strips are easy to place anywhere, including on the back of your smartphone or tablet, or in your favorite book.

Calm Strips are a popular product to calm anxiety and help those who have difficulty paying attention in class. Calm Strips are available for purchase at a cost of $10 50 of these textured strips to fiddle with whenever your child’s hands are tempted by impulsive behaviors. Some educators even put Velcro strips under a student’s desk, with either the rough or soft part of the strap facing outward based on the type of sensory feedback the child likes. It can be hard to stay calm when the world feels chaotic, but Calm Strips offer an insanely cheap fix that’s very appropriate for the classroom.

$14 at Amazon

9. Flexible seating

Child using the ECR4Kids The Surf Portable Lap Desk to write in workbook.

Credit: Reviewed / ECR4Kids

ECR4Kids offers a clever alternative to traditional schoolwork seating.

Coping with ADHD and autism is all about getting into a routine. In school, this might mean finding a comfortable sitting position for your child. This is an inexpensive option. lap desk from ECR4KidsA stool ($23) or a stool may be suitable for anyone of any age. However, younger children may prefer a small stool. Yoga Ball Chair ($20) instead. Flexible seating may be the best option for your child to make it through a long day.

$23 at Amazon

$20 at Amazon

10. Typing games to help you focus.

Kid's Typing Bundle with cartoon characters Mickey Mouse.

Credit: Reviewed / Individual software

Mickey Mouse and his friends will teach you how to type with laughter and humor.

Most of us will have fond memories of playing computer games in school’s computer lab. Educational games can not only be fun but also serve as a focus tool for ADHD and other children on the spectrum. There are many free online typing exercises for children. this double packTwo bespoke programs are available for children aged 5-12. It may require Windows and a functioning CD drive to use, but users say it’s the perfect gift for school-aged kids who also happen to love Disney. A typing drill requires constant attention. This can distract your child from other distracting stimuli while teaching them an important life skill.

$33 at Amazon

11. Oral fixation: Candy or gum

Tub of Tootsie Roll Dubble Bubble chewing gum for oral stimulation.

Credit: Reviewed / Tootsie

Tootsie Roll Dubble Bubble chewing Gum is free from gluten, peanuts, and kosher for children with dietary restrictions.

I was an autistic child and worked with an occupational therapist throughout high school. She believes that any type of gum is acceptable. hard candyOr Altoidsfunction can be used to help children focus on difficult tasks and lessons in school. She was partial to Dubble BubbleDuring the ‘90s, but you’re free to purchase whatever product fits best with your kid’s diet. Simply put, a small distraction can go a long way when it’s time to get down to business.

$18 at Amazon

12. Sensory basics: salt and sugar, corn starch or shaving cream.

Pile of Happy Belly Sea Salt.

Credit: Reviewed / Happy belly Sea Salt

Believe it or not, household items like sugar and salt can also be used as a calming mechanism.

We started this list with some basic sensory products, so we’ll end there as well. It can be difficult for children with sensory issues to understand which feelings are most appealing to them. That’s why certain mainstays like salt ($3), sugar ($22), corn starch, shaving cream, soft sand or slimeIt may be worth keeping on hand.

Sugar, on the other hand, is more tactile than salt. Those who love to touch hard surfaces may prefer salt. Take these varied sensations for a spin, and you may find even more products on this list that suit your child’s preference. If you’re an educator, designing activities around these ingredients might also function as a means of calming the classroom.

$3 at Amazon

$22 at Amazon

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Prices were accurate at time of publication but may change in the future.

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