Sensory integration tools for the home

My son Arif has autism and sensory processing issues, which can make it difficult for him to receive and process information from his senses. He regularly seeks sensory input, which can help keep him regulated and focused, while at other times he avoids some sensory inputs that can make him feel uncomfortable and overwhelmed.

As sensory inputs can significantly affect the moods, behaviours and readiness of children with autism and sensory processing issues, it can be helpful for parents to incorporate sensory integration tools in the home. These tools have been found to be useful in promoting regulation and self-calm, as well as improving focus, and increasing participation in daily activities. 

Let’s take a look at some of the sensory integration tools that can be incorporated into the home:

Sensory equipment for gross motor

Gross motor activities, which involve the movement of large muscle groups, provide proprioceptive and vestibular inputs that individuals with autism and sensory processing issues may crave. They also provide an avenue for energy release, as well as help relieve stress and frustration. Equipment that your child can use at home for gross motor activities include:

  • Mini trampoline
  • Large exercise ball for sitting, bouncing and rolling 
  • Bouncy seats
  • Rocking chair
  • Scooter boards
  • Fabric play tunnel
  • Swing, slide or climbing structure (if you have the space)

Sensory items for deep pressure

Deep pressure stimulation refers to firm but gentle squeezes, hugs or holds that can help relax your child’s nervous system. Things that can help provide deep pressure at home include: 

  • Large cushions or bean bag (my son likes piling them on or around himself)
  • A weighted blanket or lap pad
  • Handheld massage ball
  • Wooden foot massager
  • Calming back rubs
  • Gentle hand and foot massages

Tactile manipulatives and fidget toys

Some children need to touch and manipulate materials with their hands to feel more at ease. These are examples of items that can help support them:

  • Putty, play dough or sensory slime
  • Building blocks 
  • Magnetic tiles
  • Fidget toys

A quiet corner

Create a cosy corner in your home where your child can take a break when they feel overstimulated. This area should ideally have:


  • Less noise / noise-cancelling headphones
  • No overwhelming visuals (e.g. bright colours, bold or busy patterns)
  • A beanbag or floor cushions
  • Blanket or towel (with texture that your child likes)
  • Books
  • A stuffed animal or pillow

Sensory kit

A sensory kit is a collection of items that may help calm your child in over stimulating situations. Some of the items that you can include are: 

  • Soothing lotion or massage oil 
  • Calming lavender essential oil 
  • Scented lip balm
  • Noise-cancelling headphones
  • Sunglasses
  • Bubbles
  • Chewable toys or chewellery
  • Chewy or crunchy snacks
  • A timer to help with transitions
  • Fidget toys or a stress ball

If you’d like to include sensory integration tools to your home, do consult a sensory integration trained occupational therapist, on the types of tools and activities that would suit your child’s daily routine and specific needs.

This article was reviewed by The Energy Source’s Director, Physiotherapist and Sensory Practitioner, Joanna Hutt.

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