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42 Accommodations That Help Kids With Sensory Needs

Does your child have sensory challenges that they deal with at school or at home?

Sometimes, if a child is experiencing either too little or too much sensory input in a situation they become dysregulated. This may look like a behavior problem like disobedience, or hyperactivity.

However, what they may really need is some support or accommodation to help them better manage their sensory overload or seeking.

42 Accommodations For Common Challenges Faced By Kids With Autism

There are many accommodations and adaptations that help with these common challenges faced by kids with sensory needs.

You can use this post as a quick reference guide to finding solutions for common challenges faced by kids with autism and ADHD, based on the problem you’re having.

You will find products, tools, activities, and other resources listed under each problem below. These solutions aim to improve sensory integration and coping skills at school and at home.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. 

Common Challenges Faced By Kids With Autism, And Their Solutions

If your child…can’t sit still, try:

  • A chair fidget for their feet. You can slip it onto any chair and they can wiggle their little legs around as much as they want. Bonus, it doesn’t make any noise so it doesn’t distract others.
  • A sit-a-round cushion for their seats at school or to take along to appointments.  Lets your little one wiggle to their heart’s content. Weight shifting and movement can help improve focus.
  • Hand fidgets toys like fidget spinners, putty, or this unique textured circle fidget set.
  • Take a movement break. Try this 7 minute HIIT workout that’s proven to help sensory seekers stay calm and focused.
  • Chair push-ups – Get your child to hold on to either side of their chair and push with their arms to lift their bottoms off the seat. This provides proprioceptive input through heavy work and it’s a tactic used by occupational therapists.

If your child … gets upset about loud noises and covers their ears, try:

  • The most common solution for sensitive ears, a pair of noise reduction headphones can help minimizes noises. Learn more about auditory sensory processing here.
  • If your child wants something more discreet, try Vibes earplugs. These nearly invisible earplugs reduce decibel levels by 22db while still allowing you to hear whats going on around you, just at a lower volume.
  • If noises continue to be a distraction in the classroom, look into a product such as this sound sponge quiet room divider. It’s made a foam that absorbs foam and creates a quiet and calm space around your child’s desk while leaving them with an ample amount of space

If your child … Chews on their sleeves or other non-food items, try:

  • These chewy wristbands made just for chewing! They absorb drool and keep sleeves dry.
  • A chewy fabric necklace might be a better solution if your kiddo comes home with a drool drench, stretched-out shirt from chewing on the neck rather than the sleeves.
  • The classic solution to chewing seems to be plastic chewable items such as jewelry and pencil toppers. These tend to work best for light chewers.

If your child … jumps and crashes into everything and acts rough, try:

If your child … melts down easily, try:

If your child … struggles to tie their shoes or put them on the right feet, try:

  • Putting these cute stickers, called Shoezooz, inside your kiddos sneakers. Or, cut any sticker in half and place one half in the left shoe and one half in the right.
  • Use bi-colored laces and this adorable little book for teaching them to tie their shoes independently.
  • Hickies are shoelaces that never need to be tied so you can turn your kiddos sneakers into slip-on shoes. This is our go-to solution.
Hickies

If your child … struggles with hair pulling or skin picking, try:

  • This snap and click fidget toy. This one is literally my favorite and I play with my son’s all the time. The little click sound it makes when you fidget with it is oddly satisfying.
  • This fidget kit which is a one of kind kit created specifically for children who pull out their hair or pick at their skin.
  • This toy called the “hairy tangle”  – a manipulative, hairy, fidget toy

If your child … has a difficult time making transitions (big or small), try:

If your child … has trouble with gross motor skills, try:

If your child … has trouble with fine motor skills try:

  • Grab some pipe cleaners and beads at the dollar store and get your child thread them. This is a great quiet activity for the kitchen table.
  • Practice cutting lines and shapes on construction paper. Draw a variety of lines (straight, zig-zag, wavy, etc) and let your child cut them out. Practice with shapes, too. Circles, hearts, stars, etc.
  • Playdough, putty, and slime all help strengthen hands and fingers to improve fine motor skills.
  • Play a game of Operation, or Perfection.
  • Use activities and toys designed to target fine motor skills. I love this Mosaic with wooden pegs. Your kids can remake them again and again.

Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, teacher, coach, etc. if there is a kid in your life with sensory needs, save this list so you can reference it later.

These are all common challenges faced by kids with autism and I think we all go through at least one of these things at some point or another.

There are no one-size-fits-all solutions, but hopefully from these options, you find something that works for you.

Got a problem that I didn’t cover here? Let me know in the comments and I will tell you what I think could help.

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2 Comments

  1. Hi! I work with children who are Autistic, and currently have a student who spits a lot, which is alienating them from their peers. I wonder if you have any experience with this behavior, and if you have any ideas which could help reduce the spitting? Thanks.

    1. Sarah,

      I’m going to send you an e-mail so I can get a little more information and try to help :)

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