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
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.
2. A discreet fidget maze
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.
3. Buzz Buddy is an oral stimulation device
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.
4. A small, weighted blanket or lap pad
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.
5. Use headphones or earplugs to muffle the sound
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.
6. Lycra fabric or Lycra body socks
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.
7. Anxiety coloring 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. Velcro or calm strips for simple soothing
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.
9. Flexible 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.
10. Typing games to help you focus.
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.
11. Oral fixation: Candy or gum
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.
12. Sensory basics: salt and sugar, corn starch or shaving cream.
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.
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