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Moving Moment: Trampoline, Kinetic Sand, and Pinto Beans: Tools of Kylie’s Newfound Freedom

In the journey of parenting a child with autism, the challenges can sometimes feel overwhelming, especially when sensory issues come into play.  In this blog you will meet a vibrant 5-year-old girl with autism, and learn how the incorporation of Occupational Therapy (OT) techniques, coupled with creative sensory activities, has transformed her world, and brought newfound freedom to her and her family.



Meet Kylie

As a nonspeaking child, Kylie faced significant challenges, particularly during transitions between routines at home and various therapy sessions. Her self-injurious behaviors, including hitting her head on walls and floors, hand flapping, and intense meltdowns, painted a picture of daily struggles that were all-consuming for her family. Nights were especially challenging, raising fears for Kylie's safety and making every outing a high-stress endeavor.

Recognizing the need for intervention, Kylie's family turned to AZA United's dedicated Occupational Therapy team, who introduced introduced sensory strategies tailored to Kylie's needs. Sessions focused on movement such as climbing and crashing onto crash pads, putty play, and exploring pinto bean which became key components of a sensory toolkit designed to help Kylie self-regulate during transitions.


New Strategies for Transitions

Transitioning from one activity to another became smoother with the introduction of visual supports and sensory experiences.  Visual cues and prompts helped her anticipate and understand transitions. Whether it was leaving for therapy or shiftingbetween morning and evening routines, the use of visual schedules provided clarity and comfort.

The occupational therapist guided Kylie’s mom to embrace new activities at home with the need for carrying them over into a daily routine in addition to their weekly OT sessions. Encouraged by these suggestions, Kylie's mom created an obstacle course with pillows and couches at home, providing opportunities for climbing and crashing – essential for movement processing and understanding body and space. Deep pressure squeezes, massages, and vestibular input through swinging all contributed to Kylie's ability to regulate herself.



The impact of these strategies was nothing short of remarkable. Kylie's ability to self-regulate improved, and she began to exhibit happiness during transitions. A simple photo of her therapist became a positive indicator of an upcoming occupational therapy session, eliciting smiles from Kylie.

Kylie's parents actively participated in her therapy sessions. Open to suggestions and consistently engaged, Kylie's parents found solace in the support offered by AZA United, contrasting their positive experience with previous challenges faced with other companies. Her parents are grateful to have found a supportive partner in AZA United, praising the commitment to their holistic approach to working with Kylie. Occupational Therapy proved instrumental in addressing sensory needs, promoting emotional regulation, and enhancing daily life skills, from self-care to fine motor abilities.

Kylie's story is a testament to the power of Occupational Therapy and creative sensory strategies in fostering positive change for children with autism. With the unwavering support of families and dedicated professionals, the journey toward newfound freedom becomes a reality, one trampoline jump, handful of kinetic sand, and pinto bean exploration at a time.



Contact our Family Support Team if you would like to learn how to get started with Occupational Therapy or any other programs and services that we offer. Our Family Support Team is always available to help and is available at no charge to all members of the autism and developmental disability community. Schedule a free phone appointment that works with your schedule by visiting


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