World Autism Awareness Week: Advice for Self-Isolating Families


Today (30th March 2020), marks the start of World Autism Awareness Week.  Every family is dealing with a new reality in the unprecedented times we are living in, however we understand that self-isolation and home schooling with a child who has autism can be even more challenging for parents.

With this in mind, our Projects Officer Jacqui has pulled together some great tips to and ideas to help parents, such as how to create your own sensory space at home, sensory crafts and links to useful resources and videos.

Ideas to create a Sensory Space at Home

  • Think about colours – calming colours and block colours work well – could you use a sheet or cushions in block colours to create a safe space?
  • Bring out the bubbles! You can use washing up liquid or you can get some good bubble makers online, Amazon has a selection that aren’t too expensive.
  • Using twinkling lights – Christmas lights, LED net-lighting, Lava lamps, shiny or reflective material – to add a glow to your sensory area.
  • Look for things with different textures for extra engagement, for example: silky scarfs, velvet cushions, pieces of carpet, a fuzzy blanket…
  • Sensory bottles are a great addition and a fun craft activity. Get some plastic water bottles and add different things inside, such as glitter, beads, buttons, and rice – anything that will look interesting or make a great noise. Make sure you seal the lid! There are lots of tutorials on Pinterest and YouTube.

Credit: Little Learners

  • Think about adding somewhere for movement. A rocking chair would be great if you had one, or simply an exercise ball to promote vestibular stimulation, which is good for self-soothing.
  • Do you have a paddling pool? You could fill it with teddies or other soft things like pillows and cushions to great an nice soft space to lay and roll about in.
  • If you’re feeling a little bit more ambitious you could create a tent den! Use a sheet and a clothes rack, or use a table or chairs to create the space, then get the Christmas tree lights out or a projector to create some colour. Just make sure you don’t have them flashing really fast, as this could be potentially over-stimulating.

Other Ideas and Resources 

  • Pinterest is a good place for ideas, showing that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to have great sensory equipment. This link has some great ideas.

Sensory Space at Home

Credit: Sensory TheraPLAY Box Blog

  • This YouTube Channel has some great ideas. We particularly like the Sensory Salad Spinner and the Aurora Ocean Lamp.

Salad Spinner

Credit: Richard Hirstwood

  • The National Autistic Society has lots of useful information about how to create a good sensory environment and the different types of sensory needs autistic people can have. For example, some people may find certain background sounds – which other people ignore or block out – unbearably loud or distracting. These sounds can cause anxiety to some, whereas others will tune into these and get comfort from them. You know your child best and will be able to craft something that works for them.

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