Published 17 October 2023 by TheSentre

The 7 Benefits Of SEN Soft Play For Autistic Children

For parents and caregivers of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), finding activities and environments that support your child’s unique needs can be challenging. However, SEN (Special Educational Needs) soft play sessions offer a safe, stimulating and rewarding play experience, tailored specifically for autistic children. Here at SENtre, we provide a nurturing space where children can explore different textures, sounds and physical movements, all at their own pace. Our session has been carefully designed to regulate sensory input, reduce anxiety and promote development through play. In this blog, we'll explore the seven key benefits SEN soft play offers for autistic children's growth and well-being.

soft play equipment

1. Sensory Stimulation


For many children with autism, sensory processing difficulties are common. Different sights, sounds, smells and textures can be overstimulating which makes it difficult to feel comfortable. Sensory soft play SEN sessions can help regulate these sensory experiences through soothing lighting, calming sounds and limited visual stimuli, to promote a calm and relaxed environment.


2. Social Interaction and Communication Skills


SEN soft play also offers a safe stepping stone for developing crucial communication skills and social interaction. With guidance from trained staff, children learn to take turns and share equipment, verbalise wants and needs as well as develop confidence around others. The play setting also allows for observational learning, role modelling and practising age-appropriate social behaviours, all of which are important for the development of children.


3. Motor Skills Development


SEN sessions that include soft play also allow children to develop and refine their motor skills through energetic play with hands-on materials. Soft cushioned surfaces and padding create a safe space for children to climb, jump, crawl and navigate their way through soft obstacles. We also offer squishy toys and sensory balls to build strength and dexterity in fingers, hands and arms as children hone their coordination skills.


4. Emotional Expression


Many children with autism spectrum disorder struggle to verbalise or express their emotions. Outside of autism behavioural therapy, SEN soft play offers an outlet for releasing feelings in a healthy, supported way. Hitting padded walls or jumping into ball pits allows children to safely work through big emotions like excitement, frustration or anxiety in a nurturing environment. The play space also provides comfort, affection and freedom from judgment - helping to develop emotional maturity. We help children build confidence, independence and self-regulation skills.


5. Cognitive Development


SEN soft play and interactive sessions have also been known to stimulate cognitive development through the encouragement of problem solving and decision making. Matching games, shape sorters, and puzzles all help to build cognitive skills in autistic children. Exploring concepts like colours, numbers and patterns all lay the foundation for conductive learning. It also gives them the freedom to make choices in a controlled environment, promoting independence and confidence.


6. Reduced Anxiety and Stress


For many families, a diagnosis of autism comes with worry over the future. However, SEN soft play relieves anxiety by creating a safe space where children can simply play without judgment or demands. The calming sensory environment removes overstimulation and frustration that can heighten unwanted behaviours. Children can relax as they independently explore on their own terms. Regularly attending soft play SEN sessions also provides consistency and routine for children who thrive on structure.


7. Promoting Acceptance Between Children


Beyond the laughter, the fun and the play, SEN soft play offers a unique environment where autistic children can engage with their peers under the supervision of trained staff, providing guidance and support. The provision of a structured and therapeutic space where kids can see other children with different play styles and abilities builds acceptance beyond their diagnosis. Equipping kids with sensory and social-emotional tools early promotes inclusion later in mainstream school and society.


In Conclusion:


For children with autism spectrum disorder, SEN soft play leverages the power of play to deliver a range of developmental and therapeutic benefits. From sensory integration, refined motor skills, social interaction, emotional growth, cognitive development and more, we believe SEN soft play truly paves the way for your child to grow and flourish. By creating a tailored environment with trained staff and engaging equipment, SEN soft play empowers autistic children to play, learn and grow at their own pace alongside peers.


Why not book your Sen Soft Play Session at SENtre? Book Your Call With Us Today.


At SENtre, our specialised SEN soft play sessions offer an enriching, rewarding, and fun learning environment for your child. Our caring staff and sensory play areas are designed around your child's unique needs.

Why not book a session with us and see how SEN soft play can positively impact your child's communication, confidence, motor skills, and more? Reach out today to learn more or schedule your first visit. We look forward to further enriching your child’s developmental journey.