We all perceive the world differently, and for those with autism, the world can be particularly challenging with various sensory triggers including light, smell and noise. According to autism New Zealand, 1 in 59 people are estimated to have autism present. “It is not a mental illness, but a neurological difference – one of many variations of neurodiversity.”
Understanding the unique triggers such as why noise, light, tastes and touch may be overwhelming or painful may take time especially if the hurdles are not immediately obvious. Some products can help people with sensory processing disorders however one mum struggled to find sensory products that were both functional and stylish.
Like any parent, Allanah Bazzard wants the best for her son who is on the spectrum, she wanted something he could take pride in. As a result, Bazzard founded Sensory Sam, an online store with a range of products designed with the trendy sensory kid in mind – weighted blankets, chewies and body socks all with a modern twist. We spoke with Bazzard to find out a little more about “injecting a little attitude in to sensory products”.
What made you decide to start Sensory Sam?
As the mum to a little guy on autism spectrum, I got tired of failing to source products in New Zealand. If and when I did find them, they were either dull, plain or too babyish. I wanted sensory products with style, that kids on the spectrum could take pride in, something designed just for them. So Sensory Sam was born!
Many of our readers are grandparents, how can grandparents support their children and grandchildren who are affected by autism?
There is a saying “If you have met one person with autism you have met one person with autism”. Kids on the spectrum are all so different. Knowledge is power so read up about it, but also learn what particular sensitivities are an issue for your grandchild. Once you know their quirks, you can identify them for what they are, rather than just ‘bad behaviour’. You can therefore act accordingly.
One product you have is a cool T-shirt that says “great minds don’t think alike”, what have you learned as a parent of someone on the spectrum?
The way my sons brain works provides insights to a very different way of thinking, which is cool and pretty entertaining at times. I’ve learnt the difference between a meltdown and bad behaviour. Tantrums are goal driven, meltdowns are more of an explosion of the senses! Also, I’ve learnt to give a detailed run down of the day each morning, so the are no surprises. I’ve also learnt there is no such thing as too much mashed potato.
Can you tell us a bit about the gifting tree?
Just a little way of giving back. One of our products are these awesome patterned weighted blankets. They are great for anxiety, insomnia and restless legs. My family really rate these blankets, so I want to share the weighted blanket love around. The tree on our page acts as a graph, and once it hits 50 blankets sold, one will go to an establishment who can benefit from it. I am dying to gift one, so roll on 50!
Do you have someone who may benefit from some sensory products in your family? Check out more about Sensory Sam here.