Need idea for sensory play to redirect behavior...

Discuss getting a diagnosis, educational help & electronic devices and apps for autism.

Moderator: ModeratorBill

Posts: 63
Joined: Sat Mar 23, 2013 3:24 pm

Need idea for sensory play to redirect behavior...

Postby JustinsDad » Sun Apr 26, 2015 11:18 am


My eldest son is on the spectrum and is 11. He gets easily fixated on things that he shouldn't play with. While I like that his focus and fine motor skills have increased, certain activities have become obsessions and have gotten costly over the years.

One thing that he's done lately has been to pull down and then rehang his curtains. I've already stocked up on the cheapest curtain rods I can find but that $3 apiece is getting expensive and when he gets mad they could easily become a spears or take out a window. If left to it he will get obsessed and will tantrum if we try to pull him away from it.

In true ABA fashion I'm looking to extinguish the behavior by redirecting him on to another activity that is more preferred and since he's not currently on a sensory diet I'm thinking that we need to find another sensory-based activity to replace it - but what? If left to anything for too long the activity will become destructive so I need to find something that's not potentially hazardous.

For example, one of his other fixations is with water which has had a negative effect on the maintenance of our plumbing and an inflating effect on our water bill, but in the summer months putting a wading pool and/or sprinkler in the back yard has helped him self-regulate his urges for inappropriate water play AND elopement - to a certain extent. It had a positive effect on his behaviors in general and we saw a general decrease in ALL negative behaviors such as elopement, hitting, throwing, etc.

Now with regards to this curtain hanging, it's something that's limited to his room but has become an issue throughout the house. Every curtain in the house is hanging at odd angles due to bent rods or brackets and stripped wall anchors. Is there some sort of sturdy threading/hanging activity I could try - either indoors or out? I know we've tried a tinkertoy type of activity with blankets but it doesn't involve threading and has a LOT of pieces.

I'll even get started: how about some sort of stand that will support a shower curtain to go along with the water sensory play? It can't be too complicated to put together because of his limited attention span and tendency toward destruction.

Father to Justin, age 12,'dx of ASD and ID and Joseph, age 9', dx of ADHD

Posts: 3492
Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2005 8:02 pm

Re: Need idea for sensory play to redirect behavior...

Postby BTDT » Sat May 02, 2015 11:30 pm

We don't have any curtains in our house any more. We have window blinds or nothing in our windows. Our son was just interested in taking them down, no putting them back up, just taking them down. I finally got tired of putting them back up.

Maybe try something using PVC pipe, along the lines of these ideas ... pvc-pipes/

Return to “Autism Support/Education/Technology”