I would like some ideas of things to put in a sensory room for my 6 year old boy with autism
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Janet - posted on 12/28/2011
Ok. It really depends then on what calms him personally, or what he finds helpful.
The first things though is to get the room calming by subduing the lighting, uncluttering it and possibly choosing a soothing wall color like a soft blue.
For lights, you can use things he can control himself, like those touch and glow things from the dollarstore - or a lot of people find Christmas lights to be very effective.
Also, those nightlights that twirl onto the wall with a scene, stars or water can be calming to some.
My youngest daughter likes to hide in a small space when she's overwhelmed. She needs something touching her on all sides. A play tent (or special set up of blankets on top of things for a makeshift tent) works really well for her.
When my oldest daughter is overwhelmed, she likes to have only one thing to focus on, so we have noise cancelling headsets that cover her ears and hook that up to an mp3 player or ipad. She then chooses to sit on a soft surface and simply listen and/or watch (if its the ipad) the item that she has while she calms down. If the room is just for her alone, you can even skip the earphones and just have a CD Player for music. My daughter needs it loud enough to drown out any other noise, so we enjoy that she uses a headset to accomplish this!
When she's trying to work, she wants no distractions - a plain table, soft seat and uncluttered and quiet room is what she's looking for.
She also chews on things when she's stressed, you can get a chew rubber band made especially for that and just make it available for when he thinks he needs it.
She also stims by using something to rub against - again, pillows come in here. Rocking is another thing, so we have a rocking chair, but you can use a hamock or anything that rocks in just two directions (back and forth).
If I put options for some quiet time, like a quiet yet stimulating activity - I have it in those little clear shoebox sized containers - for instance, lots of kids like the feel of working with playdoh, stress balls or massage balls (my kids really like those prickly squishy colorful things you can find at your dollarstore).
Like I said, there's lots of ideas for making a room for him, but it depends on what his sensory needs are and what helps him specifically.
Other things they do to calm are:
Climb (my oldest climbs and swings upside down on the underside of the bunk bed they have in their room)
Jump (my youngest loves the minitrampoline after she's had a hard day)
Simulated hugs or squishes - for this we uses a heavy blanket (you can buy a weighted one, but they're expensive. We use a down sleeping bag and it helps)
Really, once you declutter and quiet - any room can be set up to be a sensory room with just a few changes. There's lots of more great ideas here - http://www.sensory-processing-disorder.c...
You BY NO MEANS should use ALL of the suggestions.
Try to have something for each sense and something that you find him gravitating to even though you don't have the room yet.