Many people will show you how to make fabulous sensory things on the cheap, but sometimes we need that real wow factor. So if you are looking for presents for learners with PMLD or some autistic learners, here are some fab ideas for ‘sensory’ from Amazon!
- Bose Soundlink micro
This is a great speaker for attaching to wheelchairs or any tubular pipe. The vibration is superb, which means that learners with hearing loss will be able to hear the varied frequencies in their favourite music more clearly than with a cheap speaker. Although cheap speakers feature in this list, good-quality sound is essential for listening. With this speaker and the Anker featured next in the list, they are great for placing inside a car wash mitten, a sandwich box, or a hot water bottle cover to feel the sound vibration.
2. Anker Soundcore Mini
This is a fantastic little speaker, but it doesn’t have the sound quality of the Bose. However, at around £20 it’s a bargain! It’s excellent for creating sounds and vibration, and if you watch the video on YouTube you will see how. Sound and music vibration is good for learners with hearing loss to help them develop listening skills with any residual hearing. It’s also worth noting that you don’t just hear sound through your ears; you also hear and feel resonance through your bones and internal organs. So, when it comes to budget speakers you won’t go wrong with Anker.
3. ION Party Ball
This great quality light show will fill your room with coloured dots. The big added bonus for this light is that it is sound-activated so when you are listening to music, the lights will change with the music, but I use these to encourage vocalisation. The downside to this is that it requires either a USB charger plug or a small phone power bank to power it. The plus side is you can cable tie it into a sandwich box to make it safer when it gets thrown across the room or dropped off the tray of a wheelchair.
4. Disco Ball Light
Not quite as tough as the ION Party Ball, but cheaper, is a disco ball light. It’s easy to carry and can be powered with your mobile phone or tablet via adaptors for Apple and Android phones and tablets. You can also power this with a power bank or charging plug. There are many versions of this light on Amazon but the one shown is typical of these lights. It can be sound-activated and is ultra-portable and convenient.
5. Light-up Spinners
Any kind of spinners are great, but light-up spinners are great for visual stimulation and are very tactile. These are not just interesting to learners who have Autism or are Autistic. For learners with PMLD, they can be visually fascinating. Our brains are attracted to movement, so spinners are good for visual stimulation. Use them against a dark background for the best effect. But they are small so they could be swallowed easily – use them with caution.
6. Sensory Salad Spinner lights
I first came up with this idea years ago, but it is still a fabulous effect. It does require assembly and a couple of components, but it’s well worth the money. With the ‘Good Grips’ salad spinner, it is a real cause-and-effect dream. It will cost about £30 to £40 to make with the lights, but the effect is stunning. These can be fascinating for learners with Autism and PMLD learners alike.
7. Divoom Pixoo Pixel Art
You should watch one of the thousands of YouTube videos to see what these do. It’s basically a programmable lightbox or download thousands of designs and patterns from the Divoom community via your Android or Apple phone. You can create patterns for visual tracking and fixation, or you can show animated pictures on the screen. I bought the cheapest one, and it works fine. You can search for just about any subject and see it on the screen. It’s also battery-operated, which makes it portable.
8. Infinity Mirrors
They are plastic and portable, and they also have a picture of what your learner may be most interested in… themselves! Add to that, fascinating lights and lots of movement, and it’s a visual winner. Battery-operated and reasonably tough, it’s portable. However, if thrown across a room, it may not survive, so it may be best in a box for some learners.
9. Fibre Optic Whip
Don’t be put off by the name of some of the pictures on Amazon, this is an excellent alternative to the big fibre optics you see in most sensory rooms. The one pictured is on the expensive side, but it looks good quality. There are lots to choose from on Amazon but make sure you get a colour-changing one. I first introduced fibre optics in sensory rooms in the late 1980s because it’s light you can touch, and many learners will reach out to touch lights.
10. BlissLights Sky Lite 2.0
This superb projector will cover your ceiling with stars. I have one of these in my lounge, which is wonderful for relation and visual work. This will sit in a bedroom and be a beautiful night light for many learners. But you don’t have to project it onto the ceiling; you can project it into boxes, white umbrellas, white sheets, or paper, in fact, almost anything!