In this post you will learn about a variety of sensory activities for autistic adults to help enhance their everyday life.
As an autistic adult, finding ways to cope with sensory processing difficulties can be very challenging. However, sensory activities can be a godsend for managing these challenges and improving daily lives.
Sensory activities for autistic adults can range from simple to complex, which can all fundamentally improve a person’s functional life skills.
Let me share with you ten exciting sensory activities for autistic adults to help enhance their day-to-day lives. Whether you’re looking for relaxation or stimulation, these activities are a great way to engage the senses and have fun.
What Are Sensory Activities And Why They’re Worth It
Sensory activities are those that involve the use of the five senses – sight, smell, touch, taste, and sound – to create a stimulating environment. Autistic adults who perform sensory activities experience a calming effect that reduces anxiety and helps them focus on tasks.
Studies conducted by the University of California found that sensory integration therapy reduced anxiety and depression in autistic adults by also improving social skills and communication abilities.
Researchers from the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders also found that deep-pressure touch stimulation had a calming effect on autistic adults, reducing their anxiety.
Sensory activities also improve communication skills by encouraging the use of language to express emotions and sensations. For example, using sensory bins filled with various textures can encourage autistic adults to describe how the materials feel, helping them develop their descriptive vocabulary.
Sensory activities that involve music or sound can also help autistic adults learn to express themselves through music, rhythm, and tone.
Tips for Choosing the Best Sensory Activities for Autistic Adults
When choosing sensory activities for autistic adults, you must consider their individual preferences and support their sensory needs. For instance, some individuals may enjoy movements like dancing or yoga, while others may prefer tactile stimulation, like playing with playdough.
You will also need to ensure that the activities are safe and they don’t cause any sensory overload or discomfort. For example, loud noises or bright lights may be overwhelming for some individuals, so it’s best to avoid activities that involve these sensory stimuli.
By providing a variety of sensory activities that match an individual’s preferences and needs, you will create a therapeutic environment that promotes relaxation, communication, and social interaction for your loved one.
10 Sensory Activities for Autistic Adults
Whether you’re looking to help your autistic adult relax or engage in a more active sensory experience, the following activities offer a wide range of options. I’ve also provided suggestions on how to modify each activity to meet different sensory needs, so you can get them up and running in no time.
1. Kinetic Sand Play
Kinetic sand is a tactile sensory experience that can help soothe individuals with processing difficulties. The kinetic sand can be molded into shapes and designs, which helps with fine motor skill tuning.
To make the experience more enjoyable, you can incorporate small objects like shells or miniature toys to hide and find.
Aromatherapy is a sensory activity that involves using essential oils to create a calming atmosphere. The oils can be used in diffusers, applied to the skin, or added to a bath. Lavender is a popular choice for relaxation, while peppermint can help with focus and energy.
3. Music Therapy
Music therapy can be a helpful sensory activity for individuals who enjoy sound. Consider playing different types of music, from calming instrumental pieces to upbeat tunes for dance parties. Encourage your autistic friend to sing along or play instruments if they are interested.
Yoga is a fantastic sensory activity that incorporates breathing and movement to promote relaxation and body awareness. Yoga can also go a long way in aiding balance and coordination.
There are many online resources and videos that can guide individuals through yoga sequences designed specifically for people with sensory processing difficulties.
5. Sensory Bins
Sensory bins can be customized to an individual’s sensory needs, incorporating different textures, scents, and objects. Fill a container with materials like rice, beans, or water beads, and add small toys or objects to find and manipulate.
6. Art Therapy
Art therapy is an incredibly effective sensory activity for individuals who enjoy creative expression. Consider offering different types of art materials like paint, clay, or markers. Encourage your loved one to experiment with colors, textures, and techniques.
Cooking is a great sensory activity that can help with practical skills like following directions and measuring ingredients. Try mixing up different textures and smells by using herbs, spices, and different types of food. Make sure to choose a recipe that matches their skill level and interests.
Exercise is a sensory activity that can be a lifesaver for individuals with sensory processing difficulties, as it can help them feel more grounded and aware of their bodies. Consider activities like walking, biking, or swimming.
9. Sensory Bottles and Lights
Sensory bottles and lights can be a calming sensory activity that promotes visual stimulation. Fill a clear plastic bottle with water, glitter, and small objects like beads or sequins. Then, encourage your loved one to shake the bottle and watch the objects move around.
Gardening is a great sensory activity that incorporates tactile experiences like digging in the dirt, planting seeds, and watering plants. Gardening can also help with practical life skills like responsibility and patience.
Remember to choose activities that match your loved one’s preferences and interests to ensure they are engaged and motivated to participate. If you need help with that, check out my Teen Sensory Processing Guide Ebook for more support and ideas.
Sensory Activities for Autistic Adults
Sensory activities can have a profound impact on the lives of autistic adults, helping them develop vital skills and manage their sensory needs.
By engaging in sensory activities, they can improve their mental health, communication skills, and social skills. Incorporating sensory activities into daily routines is a great way to improve overall well-being and quality of life.
Make sure to utilize the resources provided above for guidance on effectively implementing these activities and starting your journey today!