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Campus & Culture

The Kinney Center’s Sensory-Friendly Favorite Things 2023

The holiday season is upon us! This year, consider a sensory-friendly gift recommended by the experts of Saint Joseph’s Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support.

Sensory-friendly toys sitting on a table top

Published: November 14, 2023

Total reading time: 4 minutes

Are you looking for the perfect gift for a loved one with autism? Saint Joseph’s University’s team of experts at the Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support are sharing their list of sensory-friendly items that children and adults will love.

Faculty and Staff Picks

  • Spiky Sensory Rings: “These fidget rings provide pressure to your fingers. They are great for ‘waking up’ your hands and keeping you focused. I love to use them during meetings. They are also quiet, which makes them ideal for people who are noise sensitive.” Purchase here.

    Recommended by: Emily Haindl, BCBA
  • Sensational Sensory Body Sock: “The body sock is a great tool to utilize across programs for a participant who is in need of proprioceptive input. It assists with body awareness as well as spatial understanding within a variety of environments. The stretchy material can be used during activities or for a calming sensory break. It is large enough to fit an adult sized individual, yet small enough to place in a purse or activity bag. Great for all ages.” Purchase here.

    Recommended by: Jessica R. Joseph, PhD, BCBA
  • Fidget Cube: “The fidget cube is an ideal kinesthetic toy with soft silicone rubber buttons, smooth rotating joystick and crisp clicking sounds — making it the best cube fidget toy for adults on the market. Reduces stress and stimulates the senses. Stress cube fidgets for adults and children are designed to aid relaxation. Anxiety toys for adults help with focus, reduce stress and aid concentration for those with ADHD. They also assist seniors in improving their dexterity and eliminating habits such as smoking and nail biting.” Purchase here.

    Recommended by: Alyssa Hernandez, BCBA
Image Young student sitting on yellow yoga ball playing with a sensory-friendly toy

  • Yoga Balls: “Yoga balls are a fun way to receive sensory input while helping with balance and exercise!” Purchase here.

    Recommended by: Theresa McFalls, LSW
  • White Noise Machine/Gentle Alarm Clock: “This two-in-one alarm clock and sound machine comes with a library of nature sounds to minimize distracting background noise, as well as an alarm clock that wakes you using a slowly brightening light instead of a jarring sound. This gift caters to anyone who is hypersensitive and looking to relax, but needs to make it to class or work on time!” Purchase here.

    Recommended by: Mary Ann Newell, LPC, NCC
  • Pop Bubble Phone Case: “This is a great option to always have a way to fidget wherever you bring your phone! Pop bubble phone cases are discreet but provide a great way of being able to fidget and regulate yourself in stressful situations.” Purchase here.

    Recommended by: Ali Flukes, LCSW
  • Sensory Water Beads: “These are small, multi-colored, water-absorbing beads that come in a variety of shapes. They provide stress relief and a great opportunity to practice motor skills. Suitable for both children and adults.” Purchase here.

    Recommended by: Luke Schlegel, MEd, LPC
  • Weighted Stuffed Animal: “A weighted stuffed animal can provide relief for anxiety and stress. The stuffed animal has a soft texture that can provide a calming feeling as well.” Purchase here.

    Recommended by: Alli MacNamara, LPC, NCC

Bonus Gift Ideas

If you are still looking for gifts to give to loved ones — or yourself — check out the options below from some of Kinney’s community partners. A portion of the purchase price from the following items will benefit the Kinney Center.

  • House Cup Coffee Roasters Embrace Blend: House Cup Coffee Roasters of Havertown, Pennsylvania, is offering a delicious coffee blend to support autism awareness. Combining the fruit notes from Ethiopia with dark chocolate notes from Costa Rica, House Cup Coffee Roasters have produced a full-bodied sweet coffee with a hint of dark berries. House Cup Coffee Roasters will donate $1 of each pound of Embrace Blend purchased to the Kinney Center. Purchase here.
  • Autism Support Love & Light Prayer Candle: PowerBeads by Jen, a favorite from Kinney’s Annual Autism Awareness Luncheon, has created a candle to benefit the Kinney Center. $5 of every citrus-agave scented soy candle will go back to the Kinney Center. Purchase here.
  • PowerBeads by Jen Petites Autism Cushion-Cut Coin Shaped Beaded Bracelet: PowerBeads by Jen and Just Jill have teamed up to create a beautiful midnight tiger-eye gemstone bracelet. A portion of the purchase price from each bracelet will benefit the Kinney Center. Purchase here.

Need even more gift ideas? View last year’s list.