In Australia, under the early intervention and diagnosis criteria (HWCA) – when a child gets diagnosed with autism before the age of 6, they qualify for 12k worth of funding to be used before they’re 7. About 4k of this can be used on resources and the rest is used on therapy: speech therapy, occupational therapy & psychological therapy.
It can be a bit overwhelming at first trying to work out how to spend the resource funding so I’m going to share some ideas of the things we used ours on that we would rate and recommend.
*Please be aware this is not a sponsored post at all, I’m merely sharing my views on products because I think they’re great.*
This timer is invaluable in our house as it reduces the amount of upset caused by continuing, persevering or finishing activities. It provides a clear visual allocated space of time for our girls. Sno in particular loves and uses this. When given challenging activities to work on (for example: exercise on a cold morning or cello practise) it really helps her to know and see how much longer she has left to keep persevering. It’s also a useful aide for transitions when finishing and beginning another activity, or limiting the time spent on screens or reading chill breaks (otherwise she would spend the whole day in her room reading which is fine on the holidays but not really OK on weekends or weekdays). The one I linked is a big portable one but there are smaller versions which can be bought too which may be useful in schooling environments or kindergarten or home.
Ikea Pod Chair.
This chair is a huge hit here. The way it can be spun is calming for sensory seekers and its pull over cover provides a cozy and secure hiding spot which can be utilised for overwhelm. Sno who is nine still fits in ours. Could be really useful in a kindergarten or school environment, too.
This was an item I was skeptical to purchase initially because of it’s cost. However Calming Moments make beautifully made, affordable blankets that have helped Sno a lot. After many months of her being very restless at night times and evenings that would always crescendo with a meltdown due to sensory overload and overwhelm, I was willing to try anything. The weighted blanket has been a huge hit in our house because it provides calming pressure to the legs or whole body and settles the body for bedtime, promoting deep sleep.
These can be used during seated work or also in bed. Sno loves to have her weighted lizard draped over her lap or shoulders in class; it helps her concentrate during noisy parts of the day and it also calms her after she’s been stimulated in excess. Wilding loves to wrap her body around her panda in bed and gets a lot of comfort from it.
I’m not sure if you’re aware but non-permanent climbing fixtures can be bought using the funding. We got this one and it’s been a huge hit amongst all our girls and worn well over the years in all kinds of weather. They can be used to promote greater gross motor strength, balance & improve muscle tone too. Not to mention they allow for many different types of sensory inputs!
iPod Nano or Touch & Noise Cancelling Headphones.
We chose to buy Sno the Nano as she is very visually sensitive and there’s less options for her to get overwhelmed with, and Wilding got a Touch. Sno uses her iPod as a clock but she also has music on there in different categories which she uses to calm and block out other noise. We have also learned how to download her interesting podcasts and load audiobooks on there for her. This can be awesome to use when travelling too or having to do “waiting” at other events. Wilding loves the Touch as we have loaded apps on there for her that are stimulating and challenging (she’s almost reading at 4.5 years old) as well as calming apps and favourite videos and movies which come in handy being able to be transported when travelling or during transitional times. The headphones we use are these ones.
Now we don’t personally own these so I can’t vouch for the quality or construction of them but I think if we had our time again these would be totally on our list. They look like great fun and would be awesome for building muscle tone, core strength and coordination.
We have numerous sets of these and they have been wonderful and remain amongst out most-used and loved toys. They are wonderful for hand-eye coordination, promoting creative thinking and expanding on imagination skills and they’re really visually appealing. We would love to create a lightbox or table to expand the use of these. We have also used them in the bath and on the fridge. They can make 3D creations to expand mathematical knowledge and also beautiful flat patterns exploring symmetry.
Smart Girl Guide Books
These books have been invaluable to Sno in aiding her understanding of social situations. They explore many “what-if” situations as well as “what to do in the case of XYZ” and break down the barriers of social interaction. Many autistic girls struggle socially because the definition between the grey areas of social conduct are often very unclear. So they mimic to cope, but teaching them skills and appropriate conduct can be a really useful way to demystify all the jumble and confusion that is friendships and relationships with others.
Jettproof Compression Clothing
We have only been trialling a vest for a few days and soon will provide a more in-depth review but so far we are really impressed with this item and will need more on hand for ease of soon soon I believe. These vests provide subtle proprioceptive pressure to the individual wearing them, which can have a calming and grounding effect on the wearer. They’re made from a great light weight fabric which wicks moisture and is breathable and cool to wear under other clothing. The thing I love about the vests the most is that they can be worn underneath school uniforms without anyone knowing so they provide constant calming sensory input without the individual having to “do” anything – it’s all incidental. Definitely worth checking out.
InYard Therapy Swing
The awesome thing about this tool is that it can be both calming and alerting. It can be used as a jumping/spinning therapy toy, and also as a cocoon that provides deep pressure. Jody from Sensory Oasis for Kids is the only Australian stockist and she comes highly recommended. We have the Jumbo size and it is fantastic.
An Epic Occupational Therapist. 😉