Autism Speaks is dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the lifespan, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. They do this through advocacy and support; increasing understanding and acceptance of people with autism; and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions.
Responses provided by Arianna Esposito, Autism Speaks Director of Lifespan and Supports
What is a sensory toy? Why might they be more appealing to children on the spectrum than toys that have not been designed with their needs in mind?
A sensory toy is one that is specially designed to stimulate one or more of the senses. Sensory toys may be more appealing to children on the spectrum because they can help the child remain calm and provide the sensory experience they want.
How do these types of toys benefit these children? How does it stimulate their senses?
These types of toys benefit children on the spectrum by helping them engage with their senses, provide feedback to their sensory systems, and regulate their sensory needs.
What types of toys do you seek for children on the spectrum? What makes a toy appropriate or beneficial for a child on the spectrum?
Like all kids, children with autism seek a variety of toys based on their interests and preferences. A toy that’s appropriate or beneficial for a child with autism is one that enables the child to engage in play with their family, friends, or peers. It is also a toy that is designed so the child can interact and use the toy in a way that is accessible to them.
How do the toys in the Sensory Crate benefitting Autism Speaks help children with sensory needs?
The toys in the Sensory Crate benefitting Autism Speaks provide engagement that may appeal to a variety of children. They are fun and exciting with popular characters!
Tell us about the 1 Million Acts of Kindness and how it relates to the general mission of Autism Speaks.
As we celebrate 15 years, our birthday wish is to make 2020 the “Year of Kindness” for people with autism, with a bold goal to achieve one million acts of kindness, big and small, by the end of 2020. Crucial to our mission is increasing global understanding and acceptance of people with autism. We believe that celebrating and encouraging acts of kindness will directly advance our mission by creating a kinder, more inclusive world for people with autism.
Acts of kindness, which are being collected at autismspeaks.org/kindness, can include everything from lending a helping hand to someone on the spectrum, to volunteering at an Autism Speaks event, to sending a message of goodwill through social media and so much more.
As an organization, what do you hope to accomplish during World Autism Month?
Now more than ever we need to show kindness and compassion towards one another. As we work through World Autism Month, we hope to foster a community of kindness and get closer to our goal of one million acts of kindness. We hope supporters will participate in the initiative by visiting autismspeaks.org/kindness where they can take an online kindness pledge, start a Facebook Fundraiser to benefit Autism Speaks and more.
In honor of World Autism Month, Loot Crate is collaborating with Autism Speaks to create a Sensory Crate with children on the autism spectrum in mind, filled with 5 toys and accessories from Adventure Time, Steven Universe, The Powerpuff Girls, and We Bare Bears. Even the crate itself will have sensory stimulation and activities! (Toys rated for ages 8+.)