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Creating a Sensory Friendly Space

 

One of the pieces of advice I have received over the years from therapists, educators and even parents of adult autistic children, was to make our home sensory friendly. In my mind that sounded overwhelming.

Did that mean more stuff in my living room? Did that mean spending more money on stuff my son wouldn’t use or even try?

I already felt like our house was kid friendly. It was covered in toys, Legos, balls, and Nerf Gun bullets.

We had kid size chairs, blankets and fidgets everywhere. Wasn’t that enough?

Well, as Cooper got older, we quickly learned that more stuff wasn’t the answer. In fact, more stuff typically caused him more stress.

What he needed was the right tools in the right spaces readily available.

He needed to crash, roll, and push. He needed to swing. He needed to jump.

We learned that if we accommodated his sensory needs, he felt better. When we saw him getting anxious, we’d encourage sensory play/breaks. It made a world of difference.

One problem that we found though was winter in Minnesota. Going outside for Cooper wasn’t an option many months out of the year.

So, we resorted to our basement. It’s a wide open space down there.

Here are a few of the tools we added to our home to make it ‘more’ sensory friendly.

EOS Trampoline

Cooper loves jumping. Besides swimming, it’s one of the only physical type activities he likes to do willingly.

In the summer, we have an outdoor trampoline that keeps him busy, active, and entertained.

The winter in Minnesota makes that a challenge.

Thankfully, I found an option that would work in our basement. Cooper’s trampoline came from SkyBound. It is the perfect size to fit in our basement. He LOVES it!

Jamie even said it was easy to set up. That’s a huge win.

Click HERE to see this model.

When I choose products for Cooper, I make an effort to choose products that come from good companies. SkyBound does just that.

Through their community outreach efforts, they realized there existed a need for a high-quality mini-trampoline that could serve both therapists at centers and families at home alike. This direct involvement with the community led them to create their first-ever sensory trampoline, the Eos, designed specifically for children with Autism and neurodevelopmental disorders in mind.

And in December, they even donated several new Eos sensory trampolines to help promote motor skills development, and provide a fun outlet to release energy for children with Autism. Pretty amazing if you ask me!

Swing

Cooper also really enjoys swinging. Yet another activity that is traditionally done outside. Swinging has a way of calming him and clearing his brain. It’s a good reset when he needs one.

I found this option at Fun and Function. It was a very good price and seemed sturdy. It also wouldn’t take up too much room in the house.

We were able to screw the swing into the wooden beams in the ceiling.

Cooper and his brother love this swing. They have a blast playing on it.

Click HERE to see this model.

Quiet Space

Our house is loud. We have five people living in it and two dogs. The baby is loud. Sawyer is loud and busy. We always have kids over. There are times when the noise gets to be way too much for Cooper. He is learning to tell us that by covering his ears.

We really wanted to be able to give him a space that he could go, relax, and take a time out.

But we knew it would need to be cool, comfortable and space he could have all too himself.

When I saw this tee-pee I knew it was perfect.

We put it in his room, filled it with blankets, pillows and a bean bag chair. He has the option to turn on his sound machine or use his noise-canceling headphones. And somedays, he even requests his nightlight to be turned on.

Now, when he’s overwhelmed, he will head up to his tee-pee to take a break.

Click HERE to see this model.

I hope this post can help you create a sensory-friendly space for your own child. In our world, it was all about finding the right sensory inputs that Cooper needed and purchasing those. And figure out a way to make them work in our home.

Good luck!

Click HERE to see the Sensory Sack.

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Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook and subscribe to our newsletter.

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