101 Sensory Toys for Adults with Disabilities, Autism, & ADHD

special education teachers teacher experience transition Apr 07, 2024
Visual Sensory Toy for Adults

Calling all adult sensory seekers!  Autistic children become autistic teens who become autistic adults; the same goes for other disabilities and ADHD, and they most likely will not outgrow their sensory-seeking behavior.  Someone with an autism spectrum disorder or a disability shouldn't be limited to toys in childish colors, with smaller-sized objects, or kid-focused themes.  Age-appropriate adult sensory toys and devices matter, both in terms of representation and usability and can play an important role in their day-to-day life.  The list of best sensory toys for adults was crafted with mature colors, size, design, and content in mind.  

 

The list below may be helpful for those looking to stock their sensory rooms or sensory tables with age-appropriate toys for sensory input or for someone who knows and loves an autistic person and wants to gift them something meaningful.  

 

 

What is the purpose of a sensory toy?

A sensory toy may be used to relax, stimulate/fixate, energize, or simply for recreational purposes. Sensory toys can be powerful tools to address a specific sensory need or to provide a fun, engaging break. They can also be useful tools for those looking for stress relief, to refocus attention, or to release some excess energy.  

 

When reviewing the list below, consider the individual's sensory sensitivities and preferences. If possible, consult an occupational therapist or review prior IEP assessment documentation/provider notes regarding the individual's sensory needs.  Use the individual's sensory information and preferences that's available to choose the sensory integration method that is best for them.  

 

Individuals with special needs may have sensory needs and those needs are different for each person.  For those with a sensory processing disorder, some may be hypersensitive, meaning they experience it in a big way, versus some may be hyposensitive, meaning they experience it in a less intense way.  

 

If using the list below to generate a sensory diet for an adult, consider the intensity of the toy, the timing (observing body language vs. a set time of day), and the frequency of use (as some will lose their appeal over time). Two sensory toys may be used at the same time and/or one toy may meet two sensory needs.  Lastly, more isn't always better.  

 

 

What are Fidget Toys?

Most neurotypical and neurodivergent people enjoy a fidget toy every once in a while.    A sensory fidget toy is typically hand-held and uses fine motor skills to operate.  

 

Fidget toys are most often associated with the autistic community.  However, they are sensory items in nature and are a great way to distract or focus anyone's attention.  The most popular fidget toy choices are a fidget spinner, pop fidget toy, and other desk toys, like a marble in mesh slider.  

 

While this blog post is specific to sensory toys for adults, I wrote a whole blog post with a full list of 101 great fidgets for teens and adults with autism and ADHD!  

 

 

 

Below is a list of sensory products, nearly all of which are available for purchase from Etsy and Amazon. Amazon Prime members (which so many of us are nowadays) get free shipping on most products and have the best delivery times, while Etsy primarily supports small businesses and handmade goods. It is important to note that I earn a very small commission (like pennies) from the Amazon links below; however, the price for you is the same.

 

 

101 Sensory Toys for Adults with Disabilities, Autism, and ADHD

  1. Auditory
  2. Motion/Proprioceptive/Vestibular/Tactile
  3. Olfactory
  4. Oral/Gustatory
  5. Visual

 

                                                               

Auditory:

Sensory needs met through auditory input are sound-based.  Below is a mix of calming, energizing, and on-demand sounds. 

 PopSocket Fidget Train (only available in rainbow colors)

 

Hand Percussion Wooden Rattle

 

Crinkle Material (to be used on its own or inside something else) or Only 1 Yard of Crinkle Material

 

Rain Sound Disk

 

Ocean Drum

 

Portable Sound Machine

 

Sound Bath Sound Bowl

 

Body Tuning Forks

 

Tabletop Water Fountain or one with Accessible Waterfall

 

Sound Effects Portable Player

 

Wind Chime

 

Screen Free Music Box 

 

Busy Board: Adult Board

 

Sand Sensory Pad

 

Bells Anklet

 

Zipper Bracelet

 

Bluetooth Headphones (over the ears with behind the neck strap to listen to music from the computer while moving)

 

Drum Set with Headphones

 

Portable Recordable Playback Button Keychain

 

Clacking Wand

 

 

                                                

Motion/Proprioceptive/Vestibular/Tactile:

Proprioceptive input is sensory via the limbs. Vestibular input is spatial orientation and balance. Tactile awareness includes any sensory input throughout the body.  

Wood Floor Scooter for moving/spinning (up to 200 lbs) 

 

Foot bath with bubbles

 

Vibrating Neck Pillow

 

Picking Pads: Customize colors and sizes of a picking pad or different picking pad shapes or check out a wearable picking wrist wrap

 

Back Scratcher: Wooden wall back scratcher or long, silicone back scratcher

 

Heating and Cooling: Rechargeable hand warmers or use gloves for warmth or coolness on hands

 

Push pin pad (comes in a wide range of colors)

 

Body Brush (Wilbarger brushing protocol): Silicone Body Brush or this Grey/Pink option (easier to hold for larger hands and more mature colors)  or this extra large, Black silicone body scrubber with a back finger slots

 

Sequin and Soft Bracelet Cuff

 

Massaging Finger Rings

 

Squishy Jelly Ice Cubes

 

Big Joe XLarge Lounge Bean Bag Chair

 

 

Massager Wand

 

Compression Comforting Body Wrap (available in a variety of colors)

 

Therapy Ball Chair

 

Compression Band (comes in Large and X-Large sizes and different colors) 

 

Swing: Wide and long seat or saucer-style swing or Hammock for laying

 

Fidget Blanket

 

Weight Extra Large Blanket

 

Reusable Water Balloons (Fill with water for water play with hands or in bathroom tub)

 

 

                                                               

Olfactory:

Going beyond just an essential oils diffuser, there are many scent-based ways to meet olfactory sensory needs.  

Roll On Body Oil/Perfume (available in a wide variety of unique scents)

 

Smart Home Diffuser or Smart Car Diffuser or Flower Reed Diffuser

 

Essential Oils in Unique Scents in a Color Changing Diffuser

 

Aromatherapy Hand Putty

 

Air Purifier Necklace (For those with smell sensitivities) 

 

Wearables: Diffusing Scent Necklace or Bracelet or Suede Bracelet

 

Bathing: Bath Bombs or Shower Steamers or Eucaplytus Shower Hang

 

Epson Salt Scrub

 

Scratch and Sniff Board Game

 

Foaming Hand Soap Kit

 

Flameless Candle Lamp Warmer

 

Scented Body Lotion

 

Scented Warm Weighted Neck Wrap

 

Weighted Lavender Eye Mask

 

Aromatherapy Stick Inhaler 

 

Hair and Scalp Oil

 

Smelling Sticks

 

Scent Infused Rubbing Stone

 

Indoor Countertop Growing Garden

 

Scented Painted Rock Art

 

 

                                                               

Oral/Gustatory:

While chewable toys are the most popular choices for oral sensory toys, there are other options!  

Jaw massager or mini handheld vibrating tool

 

Chewies: T-Shirt Necklace or this Custom Length Necklace with a mature silicone chewie that can be worn as a necklace or this simple circle style (*check with manufacturers to confirm safe for use for individuals who may or have broken/chewed apart other chewies)

 

Silent Whistle

 

Breathing Necklace

 

Tongue Exercises

 

Vibrating Toothbrush (Quip is known to have a stronger vibrating handle than a bristle head)

 

Blowing Breathing Trainer 

 

Rechargeable Face Wash Brush (safe to use when wet and around the mouth)

 

Lollipops: Basic Shape Sugar-Free Fruit or Twisty

 

Silicon Straw

 

Stadium Horn (warning: loud!)

 

Spearmint Flavored Chewie (also available in Orange and Chocolate)

 

Air Blow Paint Pens/Markers (the adult version is no longer sold, but the physical marker is the same)

 

Blowing Bubbles Trumpet

 

Oral Tools 

 

Pinwheel Spinner

 

Beginner Harmonica

 

Lower Volume Whistle

 

Candle Blower Outer

 

Maine Spruce Gum (very interesting!) 

 

 

                                                               

Visual:

Toys for visual sensory needs are often the most popular of sensory toys.  Hopefully, this list below will spark a new idea or two!

Color Lens Light Therapy Glasses

 

Stick and Squish Sensory Stickers or Extra Large Squish Panel

 

 

 

 

Infinite Digital Art

 

Ocean Wave Room Projector

 

Circular Flow Ring

 

Liquid Motion Bubbler Timer (available in a variety of colors)

 

Spinning ball

 

Maze Puzzle Escape Box or Marble Runs and Extra Large Table Marble Runs and Neverending Complex Marble Runs

 

Calming Light Up Touch-Activated Spheres

 

Large Kalidescoping Tornados (available in a variety of colors) 

 

Spinning Color Changing Sculpture

 

Fiber Optic Lamp or Fiber Optic Whip

 

Touch Activated Spinning Decor 

 

Touch-Controlled Moon Lamp

 

LED Light-Up Finger Gloves

 

Giant Light Up Peg Board ($$$) 

 

LED Glow Stick (Battery Operated)

 

Bubbles: Bubble Tubes ($$$) and Bubble Wall Art ($$$)

 

Infinity Glow Cube

 

Small Motorized Zen Garden (available in a variety of colors)

 

Suncatcher: Mobile and Stickers

 

While I hope to have compiled the best sensory toy list for adults with autism, ADHD, and other disabilities, it's all based on the individual's unique sensory needs and the multi-sensory feedback they desire. I hope the above list generated ideas and solutions for sensory input without contributing to sensory overload for the individual or those around them.  

 

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