First held in the year 1972 by the Autism Society, April is Autism Awareness Month. The purpose of this is to emphasize the need for public awareness to promote acceptance, celebrate differences and be more inclusive towards the autistic community.
You are probably aware of the prevalence of autism in your community, but are you aware that it is the fastest-growing developmental disorder to date? It also affects one in every 54 children in the United States.
There are many ways that you can observe Autism Awareness month with your child. You can participate in local group activities, which may include fundraisers or walks. You can also read books about autism to your child. Lastly, you can create a craft or activity with your children while discussing autism and how it affects people around you.
My family chose to use Wikki Stix’s Multi Sensory Resource Kit to make this DIY sensory board and packet of sensory cards.
A sensory board is a board on which you attach tactile and visual objects (hinges, zippers, buttons, etc.) to be explored. It is designed for children anywhere between the age of six months to three years old.
Sensory boards and cards can help children with autism by allowing them to stimulate their senses at their own pace. The boards have been utilized to promote cognitive development, expand expressive communication, encourage social interactions and improve motor development.
A sensory board can be made from strong cardboard, wood or even a big plastic lid. We used a large rectangular shaped cardboard box. We also made a packet of sensory cards using sturdy cardstock, leftover craft supplies and Wikki Stix!
Use strong glue or a hot glue gun to attach the various items to your sensory board (except for Wikki Stix, as they do not require glue!).
There are no set rules when it comes to sensory boards, and you can make yours as cost-effective as possible with items you already have at home – this also makes it a great project to use up any unwanted materials in the house.