December 30, 2016

Sensory Santa

Brandon got to see Santa this year!  Thanks to a local therapy group (which we don't even use) Brandon was able to see Santa in a sensory-friendly, wait-free environment, not to mention cost-free, environment.  I will always treasure this moment of Brandon playing with Santa's beard.  This is an experience we would have missed out on if it weren't for people in our community volunteering their time to create special moments that special needs families so often miss out on.









Our Home Sensory Room for Our Child with Autism


My son, Brandon, is five and has autism.  He is not interested in toys that typical five-year-olds love.  He spends a lot of time walking on the edges of the couch, jumping on his mini trampoline, and standing in the window sill. 

We converted our office into a sensory room for him.  We got lucky because we were able to use use the money we made selling our beautiful office furniture to help fund the room.  We also use the sensory room for Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) Therapy.  We put this together little by little, as we figured out what would be best to go in there.




First, I know a T.V. is not something you would typically find in a sensory room, but we play YouTube videos of aquariums, and he enjoys watching his favorite movies in there.  My thought is that if it will calm him down and make him happy, it's okay for the sensory room.  It doesn't really matter what is "supposed" to be in a sensory room.  All that matters is what helps Brandon calm his body down.  However, we have to be careful because T.V. can have the opposite effect and be overstimulating, causing meltdowns.  It is rare for Brandon, but something we need to be conscious of.

The Joki swing is his favorite thing.  We initially had it it on a swing stand.  It worked very well at first because we didn't have this sensory room set up and we put it in our dining room.  It was convenient to be able to move it around when we needed to.  When we moved it over to the sensory room it actually tipped over and thankfully I was there to catch it!  We ended up mounting it to the ceiling with some tools from Home Depot.  We bought a covered chain so we can raise it as he grows.  It's not pictured here, but we also put an old exercise mat against the wall so we can push off the wall more comfortably.

The ball pit is the same one we have in the sensory room at my church.  Brandon is obsessed with it.  But, I didn't want him by himself (with his adult buddy) in the sensory room, away from his typically developing peers just because he wanted to be in that ball pit.  Santa brought him this ball pit for Christmas this year, which he got from Fun and Function.  Their customer service is superb!  I ordered the crush proof balls from Amazon because they were on sale for around $35.

A mini trampoline can be found at most retailers.  It's a must for my sensory seeking little monkey, and we've had it for years!  Most autism families I know have one of these somewhere in their homes.

The bubble tube was the most expensive part of this room.  My mom went halvsies with me on it.  It's called the "Budget Bubble Tube" from specialneedstoys.com/usa.  We actually purchased it through a local shop who order from Special Needs Toys.

We use the table for therapy sessions, which we got at a garage sale for five bucks.  The curtains were only a couple dollars at Goodwill.  The Pea Pod was something we bought from another special needs family who didn't need it anymore.  With as much as everything else costs, it feels good to say I got a good deal on some of these things...even if they are smaller items!

The Balance Stones are one of my favorite things in the room.  They can be found various places online.  We got them from Therapy in a Bin.  Brandon walks on them bare foot, which makes me cringe.

Finally, the Truffula trees from one of Brandon's favorite movies, The Lorax, are vinyls which came from a shop on Etsy.com.











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