As a mother of a child with an Autism diagnosis (level 3), Global developmental delay, Sensory processing disorder and Severe language delay - my beautiful child has always played 'differently' to his peers. Not wrong, just differently.
When his younger brother would pretend to drive his hot wheel car up and down the carpet, he was throwing them off the balcony to see if they could fly.
When he would play with a duplo set, he would stack them into a tower and charge into them with such ferocity - that a piece would almost always break.
He doesn't mean to be rough, he is a Sensory seeker.
A sensory seeker like my son require toys and resources that 'fill their sensory cup'
His favourite sensory toys are, in no order:
1. The echidna block.
Colourful and encourages fine motor skills, concentration and a great distraction from events that he doesn't find particularly fun - long drives, concerts etc. It's small enough to put in his back pack.
2. Wooden blocks.
A favourite for him and his younger siblings. Remember how I mentioned that he used to break a lot of tous through his enthusiastic play? That doesn't happen with these blocks! The beautiful thing about blocks is that they promote open ended play, as he struggles at times with 'imaginary play' this is an important resource.
He also has a tendency to put blocks in his mouth, which is why is why I stock the natural blocks as I know a lot of parents have this issue with their young ones also.
3. The Mojo animals.
Again, highly durable. There is a reason why they are a fixture in many early childhood settings. He enjoys lining them up (special needs parents will understand this). They also encourage his language skills. I love watching him making the animal noises.
4. The thicker-then-normal colouring markers.
For someone with global development delay, things we find easy can be a challenging task for them. My son is still learning how to correctly grasp a pen, so these jumbo markers are extremely helpful for when he does a drawing activity.
5. The rainbow stacker.
The most versatile resource he has. The rainbow stacker is currently his favourite 'toy' but it's so much more then that. It promotes balance, creative thinking and enhances his cognitive development.
On a sensory note, he also enjoys running his hands over the wood. It's provides a sensory outlet for him that any plastic toy cannot provide for his sensory needs.
So that's his top 5. There's plenty more, I'm sure! Piaandco was developed with my son and people like my gorgeous son in mind.
Im a huge advocate for autism awareness and I'm always researching new natural products and resources to enhance early intervention and development.
I'm a former early childhood professional, with a special interest in inclusion support. I also have qualifications in ABA therapy and have travelled extensively in search of alternative therapy - my most recent trip being to Singapore to learn about the SonRise program - an alternative early intervention program run by an American family.