While large toy and therapy companies can be handy for sourcing sensory toys and materials, purchasing them from local small businesses can be a more fulfilling option.
Many children with conditions such as Autism, ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder, or Anxiety find it helpful to 'fidget' with items. This can also be the case for children who are nervous, shy, or worry as well as those who are very energetic.
Fidget toys and items can be helpful in many ways. For some, it helps them to focus their attention, while for others it helps to keep their hands busy. For children with ADHD, the additional motor movements can help them to stay seated (when required) and to maintain concentration. Occupational therapists specialise in sensory processing and can be very helpful in identifying your child's sensory functioning and ways that it can be supported.
In an effort to provide sensory-friendly items to other local families, some Wyndham parents have started their own small businesses. These businesses can be found on Facebook, web pages, and at community events such as the Chevron Market. Some are mentioned below:
Chosen, designed, and often made by 12-year-old Kai. Kai has Dyslexia and has found these fidget items helpful for himself so is making them available to others. He describes them as "discrete, noiseless, and able to fit in your hand/pocket"
Red Blanket Co
Weighted products for all ages, including weighted blankets, lap pads, turtles, bean bags, and more.
We have all heard of mindful colouring, and the benefits of mindfulness.
The makers of Calma Cushion have taken this and created mindful colouring on cushions. This can be a fun and crafty way to encourage your child to practice mindfulness.
Sensory Oasis For Kids in Altona North has a wonderful shop,
but also a handy online store with
everything sensory-related that you could need. It is owned and managed by a Melbourne mother of three boys each with Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder, Anxiety, and two with ADHD - so she definitely gets it!
Sensory Oasis is also a registered NDIS provider.
It is hoped that this information has been helpful. If you have any queries about sensory functioning, please speak with your child's therapist or health specialist.