7 Great Products for Soothing Autistic Meltdowns
If you are the parent of an autistic child, you know just how special these kids can be and how much richer life is with them. But even advocacy organizations like Autism Speaks note that the meltdowns that can sometimes come with this condition can be tough on both you and your little one. What’s worse, if kids with autism do not learn how to control this problem and self-soothe, it can lead to other serious conditions like depression.
However, Fun and Function, a company dedicated to therapeutic toys, has come up with a whole line of products to calm and soothe autistic children and help prevent or stop these flare-ups. Check these out if you want to help your child through these emotional crises. The choices range from weighted products like compression vests to private places to go like a pop-up pup tent that can easily attach your child’s bed. See if one of these will work for the special needs child in your life.
Many autistic children can soothe themselves through a rocking motion – and the Rock Around rocking “bowl” allows them to do this safely. This sturdily built sphere allows children to rock back and forth or spin around as they prefer and the product is designed so that children can grip it without the danger of smashing their fingers or hands. It can be used indoors or outdoors and can accommodate 1-2 children.
Weighted Compression Vest
The feeling of weight or pressure can also help to soothe down an upset child with ASD. This compression vest allows kids to wear it to school or at home without it being noticeable, since it is designed with fashion in mind as well – and since it comes in black, it will match virtually any outfit! The weights – which are detachable – allow for deep, even pressure which can give kids a feeling of relaxation and security.
Products like sand, putty or dough are great for developing fine motor skills and allowing for sensory play, but they can also be very soothing if your child is upset. This putty can be purchased in either a softer or more resistant strength, depending on your needs, and is infused with lavender essential oil to help induce a feeling of calm.
The Rock Chewie
Kids with a strong need for oral stimulation can be difficult, as the need to bite and chew can be almost overwhelming for them – and this can lead to a lot of trouble at school. Fun and Function, however, has designed a pendant (ok for boys or girls) that is made of silicon and is tough enough for even the most energetic biters. It is free from BPA or phthalates, washes easily and dries quickly.
Privacy Pop Tent
Sometimes just having a dark, quiet place to retreat to can be enough to help weather the emotional storms that ASD sometimes brings with it. This pup tent fits snugly over a twin or full-sized bed and its dark color promotes feelings of relaxation and gives a sense of privacy. It is highly recommended for autistic children who share a room and need a place where they can “get away” if they become over-stimulated.
Mini-Nest Ball Pool
Ball pools are a standard tool for sensory play for many therapists, but are not always practical to have around the house. This one might just be right for at-home use, however, because of its small size. The sides are soft but sturdy enough that they will retain their shape in between uses. Parents will also appreciate the fact that the pit itself is easily wiped clean and quickly dried. In spite of its compact size, however, the pit easily hold around 160 balls and can be used solo or with other children in order to encourage them to socialize.
This is a great piece of furniture to have on hand when your child needs a deep, calming sensory experience to get them calm. The chair is full of beans, allowing your child to really snuggle in, and it also both vibrates and plays music for the ultimate soothing experience (in order to use the musical portion of this chair, simply plug it into your stereo system). The vinyl on the outside of the chair is easily washable and dries quickly and the chair is built for children up to 100 pounds. Be warned, though, that this represents a significant investment on the part of a parent: it clocks in at $1,499.
Of course, every child with autism is unique — and not all products will help to soothe them down if they are having a tough time of it. But while these products operate in very different ways, they one and all can help a child to self-soothe when they have become over-stimulated and can help reduce or even prevent the meltdowns that can be so difficult for both autistic children and the parents who love them.