Sensory “Bubble Wall” Soothes Boy with Nonverbal Autism and Motivates Him to Start Speaking

Chrissie Render’s son, Zac, was diagnosed with autism and a global development delay just before he turned three years old. Since that time, and even before, Chrissie has been looking for things that can help soothe her son, improve his educational experience, and help prompt him to begin communicating verbally. Now the family seems to have found a helpful tool for that purpose.

A couple of years ago, Zac, who is now five, was mesmerized by a bubble wall the family saw during their visit to a restaurant while on vacation. It was just a simple system that pumped bubbles through plastic tubes and shone color-changing lights on them, but it soothed Zac beyond belief.

Photo: Adobe Stock/andreaobzerova

With the help of Charity Children Today, Chrissie was able to arrange for a similar bubble wall to be installed in the kitchen of the family’s home for Zac to look at on a more regular basis.

Chrissie says her son was “beside himself with excitement” when he came home on the day the bubble wall was installed.

For Zac, who is capable of using some words but is still mostly nonverbal, the bubble wall was good motivation to get him talking. Almost right away, he began listing the colors he saw in the bubbles.

Photo: Adobe Stock/andreaobzerova

“Although he has recently started to use some words, he’s usually non-verbal. But when we connected the equipment he instantly started shouting out the different colours as they changed – ‘blue, red, green!'” says Chrissie. “I couldn’t believe it, as Zac normally relies on picture cards to communicate. It was so nice to see him coming out with words he had not spoken before. It was so emotional seeing how much he loved it.”

Charity Children Today says the bright lights and bubble sounds can be both soothing and stimulating for people with autism and can really help them cope with their condition. Simple items, the charity says, can have a profound impact on people on the autism spectrum.

Photo: Adobe Stock/andreaobzerova

“Sensory overload can be really distressing for children with autism, and, sadly, bubble tubes and other sensory equipment that can help are prohibitively expensive for many families,” says Emma Prescott, director of Charity Children Today.

“It is just different coloured bubbles going up and down but it is really calming. It really does help him,” says Chrissie. “It has made life a lot easier which has had an impact on all of us.”

We’re so glad to hear that the Render family has found something that works so well for young Zac and will hopefully prompt him to continue learning, communicating, and self-soothing for years to come! Every family with a member on the autism spectrum should have the chance to make a simple change like this one that has such a profound impact on their family.

Support Research & Therapy

Help those with Autism and their families at The Autism Site for free!