Geelong locals open Sensory Kingdom, a magical store catering to children and adults with special educational needs in the region
29.07.2021

Geelong locals open Sensory Kingdom, a magical store catering to children and adults with special educational needs in the region

The Belmont store is helping local families access a wide variety of toys for those with special needs.

A newly opened toy shop in the heart of Belmont is helping raise awareness for Autism, Anxiety, Asperger’s syndrome and ADHD, plus more by supplying toys, products, and resources for SEN (Special Educational Needs) children and adults.

Sensory Kingdom is an independent, inclusive toy shop situated on Thomson Street that’s placing itself at the heart of its local community and giving SEN toys the presence that they deserve to have.

The key takeaways

  • A new toy store has opened in Geelong, dedicated to SEN products
  • Sensory Kingdom aims to increase access to tactile sensory products in the region
  • The store is located in Belmont and is open Monday through to Saturday

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Sensory play is essential for all kids to learn how their bodies work, and how to process and interpret the world around them. Sometimes the reality of a special need, like Down syndrome or autism spectrum disorder, increases the need and benefit of sensory play and can help stimulate the brain, improve social skills, improve coordination and calm children down when they are agitated.

Ran by long-time Geelong locals Kara-Jayde and Dean Thomas, the store caters to this and the region’s need for affordable and accessible sensory toys for creative and open-ended play, inspired by their own beautiful SEN children – Arabelle, Eleanor and Arya.

“We have three daughters, and between them they have diagnosis of ASD, ADHD and Anxiety,” Kara Jayde explains.

“Buying things for them, not just fidget toys, but actual therapy items, are a hassle to buy, unless you buy them online, or travel to Melbourne and then when there are tactile sensory issues involved, the stuff gets delivered and the child doesn’t like the feeling or sound the items make, you’ve wasted your money.

“We wanted a place where you could walk in, test things out and get a feel for what you’re buying.”

Embedded in the SEN community, Kara-Jayde soon realised other parents of children with additional needs shared these same frustrations, and with a lack of access to products in Geelong, she alongside her husband, decided to take matters into her own hands and set up their own store.

“I’ve heard similar stories from friends with kids on the spectrum or ADHD, so I guess really, we just wanted to make life a little easier for families with additional needs.”

 

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Creating a welcoming, safe and calm space for families to visit, the store is “stocking products that cater to the needs of specially-abled children and adults having ADHD, ASD, and more”. Here you’ll find a huge range of sensory products, like calming stress balls, earmuffs, Lycra bed and body socks, night lights, plush toys, silicone chews, chakra diffuser bracelets, and timers plus a whole selection of education sensory products, including LCD writing tablets, LED blocks, books, and DIY calm down bottles and a selection of fidget toys for those coping with ADHD and anxiety.

“Our products help these individuals cope better so that they can slowly overcome their conditions and it won’t impact their daily functioning.

“We believe that the tiniest of things can make the biggest difference.”

Passionate about helping local families with SEN children, the products at Sensory Kingdom are updated on a regular basis, staying at the forefront of developing trends, making sure kids and adults get to experience the latest and greatest products that will both engage them, and help them work on certain skills.

Sensory Kingdom is located at Shop 1 57-61 Thomson St, Belmont and is open Monday to Friday from 10am – 5pm, and Saturday from 10am – 2pm.