Therapy Can Be Fun: Five Great Therapeutic Toys for Your ASD Child

Updated on October 5, 2017
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Christiansen's son, Jackie, is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). She is the author of Planet A: A Mother's Memoir of ASD.

Fidget Cubes Can Help Reduce Stress

Therapy Can Be Fun!

As parents of children on the autism spectrum, our days are sometimes filled with therapies. For my son, therapy sessions were not always something to look forward to and were, at times, a source of stress. Even at home, it became difficult to keep up with sensory stimulation or social stories. Today, there are so many cool therapeutic toys that can help your therapies stretch into your home, plus they’re fun! Check out our top five picks.

1. Fidget Cube. Top on my son’s list is this awesome device. It’s small and fits perfectly in your palm, plus it comes in a rainbow of colors, even camouflage. This little cube has a different stress reliever for busy hands including a button, a switch and a small rotating thumb platform. This device can be used to keep your child’s hands busy so that their attention can be focused elsewhere. We have used it while doing homework or while reading, and it’s so cute and small that it can go anywhere with you.

2. Mini Hoberman Sphere. This collapsible dome is a cross between a ball and a puzzle and comes in bright colors for visual stimulation. But the newest version of this sphere is the mini! Use the collapsible motion as it folds in and expands out for breathing exercises or to help with coordination. It’s also a good toy for busy hand play. The best part is that because it’s a mini, around five inches compressed, it’s great to take along. We have used it in stressful situations such on our travels.

3. Teeter Popper. Many ASD children need movement in their lives. Well, here it is in a compact home-friendly way! The Teeter Popper is a small, durable plastic rocker and looks a little like a sled only smaller. Your child can sit in the center while grasping the handles on either side and begin to rock back and forth using their own weight. The bottom is lined with small suction cups that give a popping sound reward as they move. It can be used sitting or standing and can support 110 lbs. While your ASD child will thinks it’s just plain fun, the device will help to strengthen the core and help in gross motor coordination. It will also stimulate the senses. The great news is that this little rocker is priced right. At around $35 the Teeter Popper is more affordable than many therapeutic toys and it comes in several colors.

4. Boogie Board e-Writer. My son has struggles with his fine motor skills and especially in his handwriting abilities. In this age of computer technology, children are finding less and less opportunity to work on these skills, even in the classroom. So, here is a fun way to get that practice done and it’s even techy. The Boogie Board e-Writer is a writing table that uses a stylus to practice small motor skills including handwriting. The cool thing is that it’s technology uses LCD lighting to create bright lines, stimulating the senses and making writing fun. It also comes with a downloadable app so that you can keep your writing samples once you clear the screen. My son loves making lists but you can also use it for drawing and spelling practice. The use of the stylus reinforces the small motor skill needed for pencil use, but your child can use his finger as well. This newest version is sleeker and brighter than its predecessors and features a magnetic back to stick to any magnetic surface.

5. Perplexus – Rookie. This toy is a ball of fun, literally. It’s a see-through plastic sphere filled with bridges and tunnels in a twisted complex 3D puzzle. The goal it to lead a marble along the turning path of plastic to the finish zone. But watch out, there are barriers along the way and tricky navigations. It’s hours of fun and this rookie level sphere is a great starting puzzle. This awesome toy helps to develop coordination and dexterity skills. It’s also great for spatial recognition. It’s perfect for travel with no loose pieces to worry about. Once your child conquers the Rookie, these 3D sphere games come in more challenging levels.

Finding fun ways to work in your ASD child’s therapeutic needs can be more fun than you thought. With a few colorful and visually stimulating toys you can add to the benefits you already receive through your weekly therapy visits. And because these toys are engaging, your child won’t even know that they’re good for them too!

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