Twelve-year-old Allie Marshall is autistic and faces sensory challenges that make living hard. However, she finds anything with a rocking motion incredibly calming – so Satan’s Little Helper stepped in to help her rock on.
Allie has to work a million times harder than everyone else just to do the basics.
“Tasks that would be normal for some are a huge struggle for her,” explains her mum, Kylie. “For example, going to bed – the pressure she feels to fall asleep often results in a panic attack.”
Kylie explains that activities like riding a bike and playing netball are too stressful for her daughter because of their unpredictable nature. Loud noises are also “physically painful”, which adds to Allie’s anxiety about going out.
She’s being home-schooled because she was having difficulties adjusting to the noisy, intense school environment. Thankfully, Allie’s mental health has improved – although learning can still be a challenge.
One activity that soothes her is rocking, says her mum.
“Her grandparents have a rocking chair and we’ve noticed how much calmer and relaxed she is when she uses it. She has recently been asking for one.”
Just wants to rock
So, when Kylie asked Satan’s Little Helper for help purchasing a good chair with a rocking function, it was an easy decision.
Because Allie uses gaming as a way to soothe herself and connect with friends and family (including playing online with her uncle every week), we kitted her out with a proper gaming chair.
“It’s amazing how much of a difference the chair has made to her life,” explains Kylie. “She can swivel and rock on it, and that movement helps calm her down.”
The chair is also on wheels, so Allie can take it all over the house and, as a result, spend a lot more time in it.
“It’s so important for her mental health. She’s much calmer, has less anxiety and can tolerate a lot more before she experiences a sensory overload. It has a hugely positive knock-on effect. When she’s calmer, she can try new foods, do her school work better, and it brings down her stress levels.”
The fact that the chair can be wheeled around the house has made family time “more accessible” and has meant Allie is more likely to go out and about with her mum.
“She can sit and rock while we hang out. Before the chair, if she had a friend over, she’d need two days of recovery before she could do something again. But now she doesn’t need as much downtime, so we can do things together more often.”
The chair is big enough so Allie can grow into it, which means it’ll be around for years to come, which will benefit the whole family. Rock on!