Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Organizing Toys for Kids With Visual Sensitivities

In my last post I talked about how much Bean's behavior has been changing, and how I am struggling to not only cope, but to find others that are going through the same thing.

Through chatting with a few others that reached out, I am back on my game now.  I am still going to take him to the doctor (which is a mess of situation worthy of another post in, and of itself) but I am going to try some new things in the meantime.  Some of those I detail in the comments section of the post, so I'm not gonna relay them here, too.  However, one thing that occurred to me was that maybe it was time to do another de-cluttering of Bean's toys. He tends to get really overwhelmed easily when he has too many choices. I try to keep his amount of available toys to choose from neat, organized and at a minimum to help him. For some reason, it hardly ever occurs to him to dig through toy boxes to find his favorite items. If he can't find something in his line of vision to play with he will just not try, which renders him bored, and irritable.  I am aware that the totality of the situation does not rest on the organization of his toys, but I do think it might help.

I thought to myself as I was preparing to do my usual cleaning routine that if my son does well with certain things in certain orders than maybe  others might benefit from it, too, so here is my tutorial on how to help arrange play areas for children with visual sensitivities:

First- Gather all toy boxes
Sort by category. All the electronic toys go together, cars, balls ect  get their own place.


 The next thing I do is count how many toys I have in each category. Half of each category is going in the attic to be switched around 6 months later.  He has 2 toy boxes that I keep in 2 different rooms, to help minimize clutter. Here comes some math! For example, Beans has 16 electronic toys. 8 Of those will be put away upstairs. That leaves 4 for each of his remaining toy boxes. I know some parents would be all spontaneous about what goes where, but see this post about how my autie brain needs rules to understand why I can't do that..

This is the box that stays in his room.

This is the other one that I put in the corner where he likes to hang out, as you can see!
This is the box that gets put away.
This is the box that I determined no one plays with anymore, so they're being taken out of the rotation.

 And here is Beans playing with some paper after I organized his toys! :) He has been having fun playing with them all. Every time I organize his toys he always seems to be so happy, like it's Christmas.


  1. I love, love, love this! I feel physically unwell when things are disorganized and chaotic. I spend much time categorizing and sorting for myself and my son. I did a similar box-thing for Tyoma. Our boxes of toys all have rules--he types them out on his label maker. Not only is the activity soothing, but it reduces the stress of making a choice for games/activities. Thank you for putting this out there!

    1. I love label makers! I used to play with those all the time when I was little. Thanks for sharing my post. I appreciate it!

  2. I am working on a post about this as well... Cheers to organizing! Lots of work - but worth it in the end :)

    (That's what I'm telling myself anyway...)


  3. For self, if can not see something then it does not exist. So, looking for it would be futile. My friend said people have stories in their heads to explain existence of things and people that can not be seen, but that I do not. It is why I get upset if can not see my ipad or my bear for example, both very important things. If not where supposed to be then it no longer exists anywhere and can not be found. Very hard to work through that.

    May be your Beans like that too. Re-organizing toys may be makes toys exist that had stopped existing before.

    1. I think you're exactly right. I think it's called 'object permanence'. It's one of those developmental milestones that I think some autistic people never quite do. It seems cruel to some that I only allow my my a few toys at a time, but if I did it differently he'd be too overwhelmed to play with any. It just recently occurred to me to arrange bins in different rooms for him to choose from to help him find toys he likes to play with .

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