Sunday, August 26, 2018

Back to School Sales and Must Haves for Your Sensory Kid

The leaves are turning.  There is a chill in the air.  The clothes are all picked out and their backpacks are crammed with pencils and fresh white paper.  The excitement surrounding the new school year is palpable.  

But for some of our sensory and spectrum kids it is a very anxious time.  They don't know what to expect.  They don't know what will be different this year and what will be the same.  Your son may be thinking about that awful sound made by the fluorescent lights in Room 32.  Your daughter may be worrying about how she got in trouble last year for needing to tap her fingers to think.  Your child may be thinking about how embarrassing it was to be moved to the front of the class because he kept leaning in his chair.  Your little girl could be dreading how hard mornings will be following her many restless nights.

For the families going into this year knowing their children may need a little help, I've put together a list of back to school sensory deals and products.  Some of these we have used personally and some have been recommended by other families seeing their benefits.  Before investing in anything you plan to use for your child for school use ensure it is allowed or can be added to their IEP or 504 as a necessary accommodation.

Chewigem USA

So many of our kids need oral stimulation, especially while trying to focus or when anxious and my son is no exception.  We have had weeks in which we had to throw away his shirt at the end of every single day.  When another child is upset he chews his shirt.  When he is bored he chews his shirt.  When he is worried he chews his shirt.  Having some alternatives for him to chew has been so helpful!  He still seems to prefer the shirt, but thankfully he will chew on a Chewigem option instead when it's offered.  He likes the Hexichews, but there are also more discrete options that can be worn as necklaces.  Chewigem USA has given us a special code for our followers to save 15% off their entire site if you want to check them out!  Code expires August 31st.

Use Code: B2S 15

Heartek Ear Protection

I can honestly say we would not have made it through last year without our son's earmuffs for noise.  He wears them on the bus.  He wears them at lunch and to assemblies.  He also has it written into his IEP that they will be available to him and he can use them any time he asks for them.  Often, just knowing that he has them in his backpack lowers his anxiety significantly.  You can get the ones we use on Amazon or the Heartek site has quite a few discounted styles right now.

HICKIES No-Tie Shoe Laces

Both my ASD son and my typical son have a hard time with laces.  My oldest didn't want to wear velcro this year and my son on the spectrum no longer fits in most of the shoes with velcro.  Thankfully there are a ton of options out there now for adaptive laces!  HICKIES is having a back to school sale right now and you can get kids no-tie laces for $9.99.

Senseez Vibrating Cushions

Our oldest isn't on the spectrum but he is definitely a sensory kid.  He often talks about how he needs to move or pace to think.  He taps his fingers on the desk, wiggles in his chair and walks back and forth when he is deep in thought about something.  This year we are trying out a Senseez vibrating seat cushion for him.  He just started using it at home and it helps him a great deal with focus.  He even said that it satisfies that part of him that has to move.  We will just be using it at home for now, but I can definitely see how it would benefit a child in a school environment for focus or calming.  If you wanted to try one out they are having a back to school sale right now and you can get 20% off your order!  Don't forget to use the code.

CODE: school

Bouncy Bands

In the same realm as the vibrating cushions are Bouncy Bands; allowing little feet to move while the rest of the little body stays still.  Kids can get their wiggles out without distracting other students around them.  We haven't yet used these personally, but I know many teachers who love them for their classes!  Bouncy Bands is giving our readers 15% off if you buy within the next two weeks.  Don't forget to use the code!  

Bouncy Bands

Therapro Pencil Grips

One of our son's biggest academic struggles is fine motor and grip.  It unfortunately has made it hard for him to stay anywhere close to his grade level with his writing.  Thankfully, we have seen significant improvement over the last year in his writing through occupational therapy and accommodations.  One of those helpful accommodations has been finding him the right pencil grip.  We love these Zaner Bloser grips from Therapro, but it's all about finding the right grip for your child and they have a big selection.  

You can get free shipping right now for orders over $35.

Wiggle Disk or Wiggle Seat

There are a number of variations of the wiggle seat.  This is an inflatable wedge or circle that goes on chairs and offers feedback and input for kids who have a hard time sitting still.  When our son was younger he used one of the smaller ones and it definitely kept him seated for longer periods of time as he was still able to move and get the input he needed.  AKC Kinetics has one on Amazon right now for $12.99 and you can use a $2.00 off coupon too!

Handheld Fidgets

The selection of fidget possibilities is endless and now that the fad is dying away a bit you can get them fairly cheap!  My oldest loves the spinners and the cubes.  Fidgets give busy hands something to do while kids are thinking or listening.  You can get fidget anywhere and everywhere; just make sure they are allowed in the classroom if they are needed.  Oriental trading has a sale right now on a six pack of the fidget cubes.  Just in case one or four get misplaced...

Weighted Blankets

 I'll close with a product that at one time was a lifesaver for us because it saved the entire household countless hours of SLEEP.  Coming down from an overstimulating day is hard for our sensory kids even when they are tired or overtired.  A weighted blanket can help not only bring them down, but it can keep them down and cut down on night wakings.  It gives our son a feeling of security and offers the pressure and input he needs for his body to stay at rest.  Make sure you research the weight appropriate for your child's weight and size.  There are a couple sale options for blankets right now.

Check out Sensory Goods.  They have a special going and you can get your weighted blanket 20% off!

Another great option for a more personalized blanket is JudysLilQuiltFix on Facebook.  She made our son's blanket years ago and it has held up great through countless washes, trips and moves.  Send her a message and mention the Back to School sale and get $5 off your blanket!

I hope you and your child find some of these products helpful and useful.  Keep in mind everybody is different; so what works for one child may not work for the next.  It's mostly about trial and error and finding the right fit for your child's sensory needs.

Here's to a great school year!

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