Monday, October 1, 2012

Sewing for the Spectrum

I know many of you have loved ones or know someone "on the spectrum". Someone diagnosed with Autism, Asperger's, ADHD, or any sensory issue really. These projects are for them, or for teachers and therapists who work with them. I hope you like our projects!

These started when Evie and I were trying to think of ideas to help younger ones with sensory issues sit still for carpet time at school. The school itself has vibrating pillows, but not all children like them. One therapist suggested bean bags, but the teacher said they were too large, and the children who needed them would be at the back of the group, and they really need to be closer to the teacher. So being Evie, she asked if there were bean bag pillows that would work. We searched for any that were for sale, that were big enough for a child to sit on, and the answer was no. They are either bag types or small neck rolls. That was the birth of this little seat, or as Evie likes to call it, Miss Muffet's Tuffet...

It's a 16 inch round pillow stuffed with bean bag beans. We found the bean bag beans from Walmart, a HUGE bag is about $10, and we found them in furniture by their bean bags.

We were able to make 8 pillows with the beans and our scrap fabric. The pattern is a free pattern from CluckCluckSew, The Sprocket Pillow. The only thing I changed was instead of a center button, I made a yo-yo and sewed it on the center to cover the seam.

When you stuff, leave enough room for movement. Our first tester loved the pillow, and instead of trying to get up during our test story, they rocked around on the pillow.

Evie was so happy with the results, she has decided that this is her science project this year! We are working to come up with a way to quantify if the pillow helps children on the spectrum sit on the floor for longer periods of time. We are waiting on approval and figuring out how to set up the experiment.

The next project we did was therapy balls. They are stress balls filled with different materials that the children can keep in their desks and feel when then need that sensory stimulation. For this we went to Walmart and bought a few different things to fill them with.

We chose rice, split peas, and navy beans. I can say our tester liked the feel of navy beans best, and that is the one kept as their desk. Again, these are made from scraps and a free pattern for Fabric Balls from Grand Revival Designs. We filled them less than halfway, so the beans and rice had a lot of movement. you can also buy polyethelene pellets online to fill them with.

I hope these projects are usesful! Let me know if you make any of them. These would be perfect little gifts for someone who works with kids with sensory issues!

Happy Sewing!

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