What to look out for when getting educational toys for autism

I am a special educational teacher at a center where we take care of kids who are living on the autism spectrum disorder as well as cerebral palsy. Most of the times, we are usually tasked with the chore of looking for toys that are going to help the kids in their development as well as educating them. Here we discuss educational toys for autistic toddlers.

iq builder stem learning educational toys for autism toddlers

When you are buying toys for your autistic toddler, you are most probably looking for something engaging that is going to keep your kids on their toes while at the same time helping them learn how to speak as well as how to interact with others. We call them educational toys for autism and in this post we are going to look at some of the things that you need to look into when buying your toys for the kids.

  • Need to be sensory

Autistic kids are craving for tactile feedback. They want to feel touched and it has to be a strong touch. They are therefore encouraged to look for sensory toys such as the body sox that is sensory and make them feel relaxed despite how anxious they might have turned out to be owing to the situation they are in.

  • Educative since the kid is in school

The toys need to be educative capturing both theory of mind as well as creating social interaction so that the kid can slowly learn how to effectively and in a healthy way speak with others. They also need to learn just like normal kids how to pronounce words in the right way, how to read, listening skills as well as mathematical skills. Therefore, we go for toys that tell them about memorizing the alphabetical letters, number games, puzzles as well as engaging story books to enhance their reading skills.

  • Encourage social interaction

You want your kid whether verbal or non-verbal to develop friendships with others. This is something that most autistic kids struggle with but as a parent, you can make things easier for your kid by getting them toys that foster them to speak with each other as well as begin conversations.

  • Enhance imagination and creativity

A good toy needs to enhance creativity and imagination so that your kid can be innovative as well as know how to react in different occasions and situations.

  • Need to be sizable

We need to go for toys that are sizable enough so that the kid can play with them comfortably and at the same time they are not likely to swallow them.

Headphones for Autism

Autistic People And Audio Sensory Overload: How to Deal with it

While you and I might not give a hoot to all the noises, the hustle and bustle of town or even village life, there is that autistic person who is so much perturbed by all the hullabaloo and noises. And they cannot hide that the noises are distracting them. They lack focus and cannot concentrate on anything; at least not with all that noise. What happens is that autistic people usually have audio sensory overload; they are overstimulated by light, touch and even sounds. So they will not be able to ignore the blaring of car horns on the roads, kids chatting animatedly and cheering at school or even disco music. So to avoid all these, they will tend to block their ears with their hands, run away from the noise or fidget anxiously showing you that they are not comfortable at all. The worst case scenario is when the child or autistic adults gets a meltdown.

As a parent of an autistic child, when you notice these characteristics, here as some things to do:

  1. Move the child from the noise as quickly as possible
  2. Look the kid straight in the face and calm them down. You could hug them and reassure them that everything is okay
  3. Stop the noise as quickly as possible if you can. If for example it is the radio blaring with music, then you could move with haste to turn the volume down or turn it off altogether.
  4. Block the child’s ears as you look for a way out.

In whatever you do, don’t reprimand the child because they are not throwing tantrums. They are just overwhelmed by the noise. Reprimanding them will only make them overreact and they could feel that you do not care.

Snug Headphones for Autism

Now to avoid all these and thanks to technology, we have some cool noise cancelling headphones that introduce an ambient secondary noise pleasant to the ears of the autistic individual and blocking the primary noise. The technology behind all these is known as active noise control. One of the most popular, lightweight and effective noise muffling earmuff is called snug headphones. Now a pair of snug headphones for autism will cut a very small dent into your pocket but you will love the snug fit onto your kid, soft padding as well as its NRR that shows that it is able to cut out as much noise as possible.

The only thing I did not like about the snug headphones for autism is that they are made from a rather feeble plastic material and are therefore to break with ease. But if you are buying for rather bigger children who will take care of them and will not go ahead dropping them or trying to see how brittle they are, then you can go ahead with it.

Where to use earplugs for autistic individuals

You will want to have your kid wearing the headphones in the noisiest of places including:

  • School hallway
  • Public transport bus
  • Disco
  • Public cinemas
  • School concert

Things to look out for when buying noise reduction headphones for autism

We have compiled a list of the things that you must look out for before buying your earmuffs for autism. So here they are:

  • Noise reduction rating

The noise reduction rating is usually in decibels. We advise people to get one that has an NRR of between 20 to 26 decibels; anything less than 20 is not good enough and will not muffle the sounds, anything more than 26 is too much and could completely block even the most necessary of noises. Blocking noise is way different from reduction—when you reduce, you muffle the background noises so that the kid does not have sensory overload. When you block though, you are cancelling all noises so that the kid will not hear when you talk to them or even hear when a car is honking them to get off the road.

  • Soft Padding

For children, you will require that they wear headphones that have soft padding so that the earmuffs does not cause them any discomfort.

  • Clamping force

You want a headphone that will not cause any injury or pain on the wearer. So get one with low clamping force.

  • Smooth edges

Related to the clamping force and soft padding, you want a headphone that will not cut or bruise your kid due to rough edges or sharp corners.

  • Lightweight

For the purposes of babies, you want headphones that are small but covering the ears while at the same time lightweight so that the kid does not feel the weight while walking around with them.