Let’s Switch on the Learning!!

For children with autism, sensory training can be extremely helpful. The stimulation of lights, sounds, and movement can be just what the doctor ordered. This helps children process these external stimuli and learn proper behavioral responses. These sensory toys can be used as a reward for behavioral modification or as the means to an end for teaching fine motor skills. In order to activate many of these sensory toys utilize a sensory switch that allows the user to press and be rewarded with different colored lights and sounds that children find soothing.

Using Sensory Switches

Big Beamer Twist Switch Gooshy Switch Silly Pin Switch


Children on the autism spectrum sometimes crave an abundance of sensory input or some can be oversensitive to lights and sounds. By using sensory toys, therapists and parents can help modify behavior in these hyper/hypo sensitive children. Through the use of sensory switches, children can use their fingers and activate these toys. This can help with fine motor skill development not to mention the switches themselves offer tactile sensory input. Sensory switches offer many different options such as colors, size, and texture therefore offering a wide range of therapeutic input benefiting almost all users.

Different Switches for Different Folks

Many sensory toys provide an abundance of wonderful sounds and lights and music, but in order to set these sensory wonders in motion a sensory switch is needed. Depending on the user’s needs there are many options available. For instance, something as basic as the Bright Red Switch from Ablenet (which offers a large 5 inch surface) which when connected to an electronic device allows users with limited fine motor skills to easily activate that device. It includes a clear plastic cap for symbol use and is made of shatterproof plastic but requires only 3 ounces of pressure to activate. Many switches offer a full range of colors. The Jelly Bean Twist-Top Switch is great for those with limited mobility and coordination since the switch is activated no matter where it is pressed. Since it is only 2 ½ inches it allows for flexible placement and offers different color tops (sold separately).

For those that may be looking for some kind of tactile stimulation, the Gooshy Switch may be just what you need. It offers lights, vibration, and music so the user can choose any or all of the rewards. It can be used as a standalone sensory input toy that has a soft, sparkly pillow to push. The High Striker Stimulus Switch Toy utilizes such a switch. When the Gooshy Switch is pressed the child is rewarded with a rainbow of lights, vibrations, and music. A great way to increase finger manipulation is to use the Finger Isolation Musical Bubble Activity Center. It’s designed to improve hand eye coordination, finger isolation, and manipulation skills. It provides musical feedback (each button provides different music) to the user and the button next centers can be removed to increase finger isolation. Another switch that offers tactile stimulation is the Textured Roller Switch which provides a somatosensory experience for children. It helps hand eye coordination while the bumps on the switch provide tactile stimulation. For a more whimsical approach, users might want to try the Silly Pin Switch.

The slightest touch of this comical looking character rewards the user with bright lights, music, and vibration. These individual rewards can be turned off by a hidden switch and this can even be plugged into another device to be used as a switch (up to four devices). Another great choice to entertain children is the Ladybug Assistive Switch Toy. Children are drawn to this colorful ladybug and are rewarded for the slightest touch with music and vibrations. This cute and colorful switch can have the rewards turned on or off by a special control. Whatever may be your child’s specific needs there is a switch that will give the proper input and create a fun learning environment.


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