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10 Items That Really Help Children with Autism

Posted April 29, 2013

April is Autism Awareness month around the world.  And, since April is almost coming to an end, I wanted to make sure to write another article for parents and their autistic children.  No matter where on the spectrum your kids may fall, they can potentially benefit from the items listed below.  Thanks to my friend Shenna, I was able to create a list of items that you can readily find. Shenna has an autistic nephew, and she knows quite a bit from first-hand experience what works... at least for her nephew.

First, let’s remember that it's important to remember that autistic children are still just children. They get tired of therapy sessions and only playing with things that are educational. Because toys are often an important part of the therapy process for children with autism, it never hurts to make sure that your child is having fun as well.  So what items work in the real world for real children?...

1. Comfy Bean Bag Chair.
Bean bag chairs, as I’ve written about before, are fantastic for autistic children.  They offer a soft, cozy, safe place to retreat to when kids become overly excited and need to take a break.  I’m often told by parents of autistic kids that bean bags also provide the tactile stimulation that is craved, especially when a soft cover is chosen.  Bean bags filled with polystyrene (aka Styrofoam) pellets also offer push-back on the child’s body, which is a great way to stimulate as well.  Kids can also move around, and don’t have to sit in one position like in a traditional, rigid chair.  Get one with a washable cover and water-repellent liner, like ours at ahhprods.com, and you won’t have to worry about accidents either.

Autistic kids retreat to comfy bean bag chairs

2. Basket Swring Swing.
This is a large, multi-colored swing that can be hung either indoors or outdoors. My friend’s nephew loves this swing because he's stimulated by rocking motions and spinning. This swing is great because it's large enough to safely allow him to experience both forms of stimulation.  A bit pricey, but worth a look.

Swring Swing

3. Large Porcupine Ball.
Autistic children often fidget, which can become very distracting and leads to loss of focus. One toy that my friend’s nephew uses to help with this issue is a large porcupine ball. They come in bright colors, and the spiky texture helps to entertain him and keep him calm. You can pick one up from an autism resource website, or even at your local Wal-Mart.

Large Porcupine ball

4. Book: “Don't Behave Like You Live in a Cave,” by Elizabeth Verdick.
Another issue that autistic children face is learning to control themselves. There are two great books that help children learn to control their behavior. One book is called “Don't Behave Like You Live in a Cave,” by Elizabeth Verdick. This book helps children address issues such as fighting and even talking out in class.

Don't Behave Like You're in a Cave

5. Book: “Dude That's Rude” by Pamela Espeland and Elizabeth Verdick.
The second book is called “Dude That's Rude” by the same author. This book also helps children learn to control unwanted behaviors by using kid-friendly cartoons and humor to motivate them. My friend bought these for her nephew.  Now he finds better ways to express what he's feeling instead of having meltdowns, which is a common problem some autistic children face.

6. Moody Bear Set.
Another great item to have is the Moody Bear Set, which is a set of interchangeable bear puzzle pieces that help children learn to recognize and express emotions.

Moody Bear Set

7. Book: the “Zach” books by William Mulcahy.
Many autistic children love being read stories, so keep the “Zach” books handy.  Good one are "Zach Gets Frustrated," and "Zach Apologizes". This set of books address ways for children to deal with frustration and anger constructively.

Zach Gets Frustrated

8. Vision Motion Lamp.
Often, children on the spectrum are overly stimulated and need to be calmed down.  One of the quickest ways to help calm and soothe kids is to turn on the Vision Motion Lamp. It's a lamp that contains floating balls of wax in front of a reflective surface. It’s quite mesmerizing!

Vision motion lamp

9. Tranquil Turtle.
At night, to relax for bedtime, the Tranquil Turtle is awesome. The turtle’s shell projects an underwater lighting effect on the ceiling. There's also a turtle that projects stars, but this one is pretty cool (and super cute!).

Tranquil Turtle

10. Noise Reduction Ear Muffs.
My friend tells me that one of the most important items that her nephew has is a simple pair of noise reduction ear muffs. Loud noises upset him, so these block out loud sounds when he feels overly stimulated.  He knows he can go to his ear muffs, nestle down in his bean bag, and feel better.

Kids Noise Reduction Ear Muffs

In the end, it's important to remember that kids with autism are just kids. All children need help dealing with the world around them; children with autism just need a little extra help at times. Although autism and its symptoms can range in severity, the items that I've listed here have worked wonders for my friend’s nephew.  I hope they can help your child as well.

All the toys and items that are listed can be found at www.ahhprods.com, www.nationalautismresources.com, www.autism-products.com, and the books at www.amazon.com.  These sites have a huge variety of products, so it may be nice to explore what other items may be helpful to make life easier and more joyful for your autistic children.

Do you have experience with awesome products that help your autistic kids?  Please share, I would love to spread the word about other great products!

Yours truly, Jade.

Jade is the founder and CEO of Ahh! Products. Find her on

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