In this series of posts, I’ll be talking about some of the sensory toys I use in my autism team evaluations.

To start out with, though, I want to set the context by writing about the ‘why’ behind using sensory toys as a dynamic part of your autism evaluations.

Using sensory toys to start the evaluation conversation:

As you gain an understanding of the fundamental difference in the worldview of children on the autism spectrum, the use of sensory toys as a way to start a conversation with children becomes a natural choice.

Think about children you know who have autism spectrum disorders and answer this question: which of the 3 following areas represents the organizing principle for ASD children: language and communication, social relationships and emotional connections, or sensory use and interests?

Unlike neuro-typical children, ASD children organize their worldview around their sensory-seeking routines and their sensory sensitivities.

The use of sensory toys invites the child to relax as he or she uses the toys to create sensory-seeking routines. The child quickly associates you, the evaluator, with comfort instead of stress.

As you learn to use toys as the conversational bridge during your autism evaluations, you’ll find that the children relax, enjoy their time with you, and show you their capacity for communication and connection.

Next: how to use that water toy to get the conversation started

© 2010 Marilyn J. Monteiro, Ph.D. All rights reserved.