Many children with autism struggle with over-sensitivity to the environment around them. A sensory body sock is a great tool helps to calm over-stimulation. They even work for kids with ADHD and sensory processing disorder. We have reviewed the top 5 Sensory Body Socks for autistic children to help you choose the right one for your child.
Sensory socks are worn over the entire body, excluding the head. These stretchy products are not only useful for those who want sensory input. Not only do they work, they’re fun! These stretchy products create a safe cocoon for kids who tend to get overstimulated. This is true for kids on the autistic spectrum, with ADHD, or sensory processing disorder.
Sensory socks, also referred to as sensory sacks, provide gentle resistance against the body. Generally, sensory socks are made of some type of polyester blend and spandex, along with tough Velcro closures to keep it in place during heavy movement.
This is good news, but if you are looking to purchase a body sock, you’ll need to find the right body sock. This can be challenging, as there are so many to choose from.
We have reviewed the 5 best sensory body socks to help you out!
• High quality, stretchy fabric
• 3 size options
• 6 color options
• Soft and breathable
The first autism body sock we are going to check out is the SANHO Premium Sensory Sock. Not only is it known to help with autism, ADHD, and anxiety, it can also help children develop their spatial awareness, balance, gross motor skills, proper posture, and more.
The fabric is very soft and stretchy, feeling nice and soothing against the skin. However, the sock does tend to run a bit large, so keep this in mind. We liked the fact that it was a bit bigger than expected, as it is perfect for growing children and will allow them to get more use out of it. Available in 3 sizes, you’ll be able to use it for children who stand anywhere from 44” to 66”. Make sure to select the right size for your child. We love how breathable the fabric is, too, which makes it great for year-round use.
Designed by professional therapists and made in accordance to the CPSC regulations, you can rest assured that these are completely safe to use and will only benefit your child. However, if you are unsatisfied for any reason, the company offers a generous 100% satisfaction guarantee!
• Nylon/spandex material
• One size option (for 6-9 years old)
• Well-made, solid fit
• Vibrant purple color
Do you have a child who takes forever to fall asleep or simply gets too overwhelmed by touch or sound? Then you must look into the SENSORY4U Sensory Sack. This model is perfect if you are on a budget but still want a high level of quality. The economical price is more than worth the extra benefits your child will benefit from.
Many issues that parents understandably worry about with using an autism body sock for the first time is their child overheating. We found that the 80% nylon and 20% spandex fabric was the perfect blend for staying cool while still providing enough weight and resistance that the user feels safe.
On top of that, the design is laid out so that children won’t get tangled up in them. They can feel free to play, eat, relax – just about anything, with them on.
Most competitor options offer Velcro closures. Depending on the placement, they could work well, or they could end up being scratchy and irritating. To solve this potential hurdle, SENSORY4U has opted for snap closures instead, which makes for easy and quick in-and-out.
This sensory sock comes in bright purple only. It would be nice to see SENSORY4U offer additional color options.
• Snap closures
• 3 color options
• 3 size options
• Snag-free fabric
• 4-way stretch
• Storage/travel bag included
If you are on the hunt for a durable sensory sock that offers a wonderful experience without the fraying or snagging, the Malu Premium Spandex Sensory Body Sock is for you. If you worry about your child using a weighted blanket for long periods of time, this is an excellent alternative. Coming in 3 different sizes, you can rest assured your child will fit perfectly in it.
They can walk on hardwood or carpet, play on the trampoline, run around, relax – just about anything they would be able to do without the sensory sock! However, stairs prove to be a bit of a challenge so we advise against wearing them while ascending or descending stairs that aren’t carpeted.
For daily routines and relieving excess energy, the Malu model is an invaluable tool. The sensory sack should be easy to put on and take off. With snap closures, Malu makes this possible.
They have also eliminated all interior tags to minimize irritation. When not using the sock, you can store it in the included mesh bag. The bag also doubles as to protect the sack during washing.
Malu offers 3 different colors – green, blue, and pink. You have some options, which isn’t true with all sensory socks we reviewed.
• 3 color options
• 3 size options
• Smart Snap closure
• Lightweight, breathable Lycra material
• Excellent craftsmanship and durability
Whether your child needs a “hug” without human touch or simply needs a tool to keep them from being overstimulated, the Special Supplies Sensory Sock is there to help. Made of Lycra, it’s the perfect combination of resistance and stretchiness while remaining lightweight and breathable for use all year-round.
With 3 available sizes, the sock fits heights anywhere from 40” to 56”. However, it’s recommended to keep in mind your child will be growing so to get the most usage out of it, you may want to go up a bit in size. Moreover, you get your choice from Green, Blue, or Orange. All are bright and fun!
Covering the child’s arms, shoulders, legs, and feet, it’s designed to offer deep pressure stimulation. This stimulation encourages focus, and a sense of calmness that is perfect if your child is dealing with ADHD, autism, or other spatial sensory challenges.
Much like the others on this guide, you’ll find a Smart Snap closure, which is much more efficient and less irritating than Velcro alternatives which can scratch the skin and pull hair. However, it’s still secure enough to allow for resistance and excessive movement.
Overall, this sensory sack has proven to have one of the highest standards of craftsmanship on the market today. It holds up well with frequent use, never tearing nor snagging.
• 4 size options
• 1 color option
• Soft fabric
• Snap closures
• Extra compression enclosure
• Lifetime Guarantee
Last but not least, is the Harkla Sensory Body Sock for Kids. Made in the United States, the fabrics are durable and soft so your child feels safe and comfortable at all times. With 4 different sizes to choose from, it offers the most flexibility in this regard and fits the majority of users comfortably.
We found this sensory sock to also be one of the toughest out there, with double-stitched seams and strong snaps that are easy to undo but sturdy enough that they won’t unsnap during use. Depending on the size and how it fits your child.
Designed for compression, the nylon and spandex blend is just a bit tighter than the others in this guide. However, if your child needs the added resistance, this is an excellent option and made for more active play times.
Included are various eBooks that offer suggestions for managing symptoms related to autism. Not only that, but Harkla donates 1% of your purchase to the University of Washington Autism Clinic. If for any reason you are not 100% satisfied, they will help find you a better solution.
Choosing the Right Sensory Sock
So you’ve decided that a sensory sock is a great idea for your child. If they are dealing with sensory issues – particularly those related to autism and ADHD – then you are definitely on the right path. We do understand that it can be frustrating or overwhelming trying to find just the right one.
That is why we have decided to take it upon ourselves to write up this handy buying guide. This guide is to-the-point, but by the time you finish reading, there will be no doubt which is the perfect sensory sack for your child.
Age and Height
First, you have to know these should never be used for infants or toddlers. Even though they are made to be as safe as possible, they are designed for children who are at least 4 years old or so.
When selecting the right body sock, look at the length of it. It should be very close to your child’s current height. You can go up or down in size, though, depending on your preferences.
If you feel they need that extra bit of resistance, then you can go down a size or a couple inches. If you want them to get more use out of it and not outgrow it within a year, then go up in size. If you have any doubts, simply look at the manufacturer’s sizing guide where they lay out height and age in relation to their sizes.
As you may have noticed, the fabric differs between brands. The most common material/blend is Spandex and Nylon, however, you may see that Lycra is also used. The trick here is to know that Spandex and Lycra are actually the exact same product, save for the fact that Spandex is the generic name of the material, while Lycra is a DuPont product. They allow for more “stretchability.”
Nylon, on the other hand, does not offer much stretch; but it does add a bit of durability which is why you’ll often see Lycra or Spandex blended with it.
Whichever you decide on, just make sure it is soft and breathable. You do not want anything scratchy against your child’s skin as it can cause even more irritation. Breathability is important to let air in and out, as it’s likely your child will be active while using it.
If you want to use it year-round, then it needs to be cool and lightweight enough for use in the summertime, too.
The best-rated autism body socks tend to have snap closures instead of Velcro ones. Velcro is cheap and convenient in many ways, though it can easily pull longer hair and can rub against and irritate sensitive skin. Snaps are preferable as they do not pull hair nor risk irritating skin. Be aware of body socks that include interior tags, which can be annoying to kids on the spectrum.
Even if your child has used a body sock before, we recommend opting for a product from a manufacturer which offers a realistic return policy. Most of those on this guide come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee included.
This guarantee may vary a bit, but they will offer you either a replacement product or your money back. This will allow your child adequate time to try it out, while still giving you the peace of mind knowing if it doesn’t work well, you are not out of the purchase price.
How Body Socks Work
Providing deep pressure input, sensory socks have been proven to be relaxing to users of all ages. This is actually part of the reason why most humans find hugs or massages so comforting. This is why babies tend to calm when they are swaddled in a snug blanket.
Gentle pressure affects the autonomic nervous system (ANS) which regulates heart rate, breathing, and other significant bodily functions.
The ANS is comprised of the sympathetic (SNS) and parasympathetic nervous systems (PSNS). The former is responsible for the “fight or flight” response, and allows a person to react quickly.
The PSNS, in contrast, inhibits the body from overworking, keeping it in homeostasis (or stable). As deep pressure is thought to offer both tactile and proprioceptive input that can help regulate PSNS/SNS operation, sensory socks can create better-regulated behavior and state of mind.
How to Use a Body Sock
To make the most out of the experience, it is important to know how to use the body sock! Let’s take a look at a few cool ways to help your child with sensory input and motor skill development.
Try Different Movements
Sure, your child can just go about their regular day while wearing the body sock, but different movements may help or calm them down better than others. Try these ideas:
• Reach hands up overhead as far as they can for 10 seconds, then reach down and touch toes.
• Reach hands out at the sides, and twist from left to right.
• Reach arms up and out diagonally, keeping feet wider than shoulder-width apart to form a kind of star shape.
• Squat as low to the ground as possible, keeping your body curled up and compact. Then move into a standing position as slow as you can – almost like you’re “blooming” or coming out of your cocoon!
• Try the “Superman”: Lie on your stomach on the floor, stretching your arms in front of you, lifting them up off the surface as you simultaneously lift your legs off the floor.
• Try seeing how many letters of the alphabet you can make your body into! Just make sure the child’s head and neck are outside of the sock.
Your child doesn’t always have to be active to receive benefits, either. Many children love crawling inside just to calm down. It is recommended, however, that they be monitored while using it.
Other Options to Consider
There are other ways to offer this type of sensory input. You can use various sensory toys for autism so your child doesn’t get bored or receives the best experience possible.
We have also reviewed the top picks for two of these products. Check out the links to see more.
• Sensory Blanket – These have been used for years by many occupational therapists to help regulate emotions or behavior. They offer deep pressure therapy similar to what weighted blankets do.
• Weighted Blanket – These are perfect if your child has autism and needs that extra sensory input. These typically weigh 15 pounds or more and create a very calming effect.
• Sensory Swing – These are a load of fun, but also offer vestibular and proprioceptive input to stimulate your child’s senses and help them to relax.
Now that you know just about everything you could ever want to about the best sensory socks on the market today, which one will you be getting for your child? You are the one who knows them best, and if you select one with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, you have literally nothing to lose. Thanks for tuning in and we will see you again soon!
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