If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll hear me rave about new products that make my life easier as an autistic person and parent of autistic children. A few people have messaged me over the past few months wondering where they can find the items I have mentioned in my posts. Here, I have gathered an Amazon affiliate linked list of my favorite products that made life easier to manage for me this year.
Alpine Smart Instant Coffee That Actually Tastes Good Sometimes when I try new things, like taking longer hikes by myself, I get a little more tired afterwards than I expect. I carry a few packets of this instant coffee & coconut creamer with me these days, and it’s come in handy to help me self-regulate when I’m learning my new limits. I’ve made it with cold water with no trouble. I usually hate instant coffee, but this stuff lives up to its name and doesn’t taste gross.
Swoffle Gluten-free Stroop Waffles These have become a favorite snack for a couple of members of my family. The link is for the vanilla flavor, but they also have great caramel and dark chocolate versions. I take these in my backpack when we go for hikes, and they help with the typical autistic hypoglycemia that some of my family experiences.
Visual & Tactile Stims
Kaliedoscopic Puzzle Flippers This is one type that happens to be in stock and lower priced, but we also have THESE and THESE. What I love about these flippers is that they’re fun for people who need a visual stim, a break from looking at the screen, or just a focal point while talking to people in a group, AND they give you something to do with your hands that’s satisfying. I even use them to help talk with kids about the weird ways that angelic movement is described in the Bible! We keep these on hand in our front room sensory bin and in my Sunday school classroom.
Spinners with Included Silicone Bubble Pops I’ve bought several sets of these to use for calm down stations around the house, for me to use while I’m muted in Zoom meetings, and to talk about angels and the dancing-within of God in Sunday school. As with the puzzle flippers, the combined visual and tactile stim options make them a lot better tools for sensory integration and self-regulation.
Stainless Steel Rosary Spinner Rings These unobtrusive rings are great for when you want to self-regulate without drawing attention to yourself. One of my children and I use them often in church services. Church is a difficult place sensorily because other people aren’t predictable and because there are sensory-nightmare flourescent lights. (Seriously, y’all, please switch to LEDs when you can. Flourescents are evil to autistic people. The flickering and noise are very difficult to ignore.) These rings are great, because we can use them to pray (usually by doing a full spin per prayer rather than trying to focus on one bead at a time) and to focus through weird social/people making eye contact moments like the line for Communion.
Sensory Strings These silicone stretchies are a family and guest favorite. There are so many ways to play with them and teach with them. I buy a few new sets every year to replace ones we’ve given away or played with so hard that they finally snap (not an easy feat!).
Crayola Model Magic Classpack I use this gluten-free moldable clay with the kids for lots of projects. It won’t go smoothly through Play-Doh tools, but it’s great for making shapes, including people. We often use it to focus in church by making tiny round balls to fit into each bump of a silicone popper toy. Then we press each clay ball down while saying, “Lord, have mercy,” for each one. It’s a great way to teach the Jesus Prayer and other prayers that repeat along prayer ropes or in Divine Liturgy or Mass.
I hope you’ll consider adding some of these tools into your daily or classroom routines next year. They’ve made a strong positive difference in our lives this year! What are some of your favorite tools that you discovered this year?
This post includes Amazon Affiliate links to help you find products easily. If you shop through any of the links, I will receive a small financial compensation for referring you to the site, with no additional charges to you.