• Kirstyn Oliver

Creating a sensory corner on a cheap budget (lockdown during covid-19)

During this coronavirus outbreak, we are all on lockdown and spending long periods of time indoors. It´s important for everyone to make space and time to relax and chill from being indoors in the same place for so long, and from being with the same people for so long, even if they are you´re loved ones.

For an autistic child having a space that they know is theirs, a space that is calm and familiar is essential for their well-being. It might just be their bedroom or they may need an additional space for this. You might think you need a high budget to buy amazing sensory equipment but at the end of the day you don´t need a lot to put together a calm loving corner in your house, using what you have, during this difficult time.

If you don´t have a spare room which you could transform into a sensory room for now, you can always use a tent, make a den or comfy corner. If you really don´t have the space, put together a sensory / fidget box or board.

The benefit of putting a sensory space together, especially during lockdown, is that it will be a safe space for the child. It will give support to regulate their senses and mental well-being helping them better manage and reduce stress and challenging behaviours, consequently it will improve relationships.

Children and adults alike benefit from different things so take into consideration what works best for your child and plan accordingly. Also remember to use different objects for different senses to incorporate sight, hearing, touch and balance.

Here are a few ideas:

- Instead of chairs use cushions, blankets and bean bags.

- To make a sensory board use different textures such as cloths, tea towels, blankets, dish clothes and sponges.

- If using a spare room or tent, use fairy lights, torches or battery operated candles.

- If your child can read, put up some encouraging posters with positive and empowering phrases. If they can´t read, still put up some pictures with a happy and calm vibe to uplift their spirit.

- Use a trampoline or balance board. You can improvise by making one just use anything that will spin, balance, rock or swing.

- Make a weighted blanket or sock. You can fill a duvet cover with soft toys, or pillow cases with heavier but soft items. You can also fill a sock with rice or dried beans and tie it or super glue the end.

- Fidget box: put a box or basket together with fidget toys, bubbles, stress balls, squishy toys, mirrors, fidget spinners and other similar toys that you know has a calming effect such as a favourite blanket or toy too.

Remember, these are just a few ideas to inspire you. Use what you have at home and make it a special place or box that your child can use freely and know that it will be their special place of comfort and relaxation during these anxious and uncertain times. #StayHome #StaySafe

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