SO Awesome Creates Wallet-Sized Cards to Help Kids With Sensory Issues
When her twin boys were younger, Marie-Claire Camp noticed they loved to chew on things. “[They] went through ‘extreme teething’ and would just chew through baby and toddler toys that were supposedly meant for them – board books, silicone wood teethers, stroller cards, high-contrast image flashcards and toy keys sets,” Camp said. So she decided to design a product that was educational, chewable and would help her boys, Silas and Owen, with their sensory overload and anxiety. Her product, chewable wallet-sized cards, is similar to flashcards, and designed to provide a better sensory experience.
“At that time, their main method of interacting with the world was seemingly directly through their mouths,” Camp told The Mighty. “It was heartbreaking because everything they loved had to be put up on high shelves so they wouldn’t destroy it or choke on the pieces. I felt compelled to change that experience for them. They deserved so much more. I decided to make materials myself that they both could experience the way they wanted and needed to experience them.”
The wallet cards are sold through Camp’s Michigan-based company, SO Awesome. There are a range of cards available including colors and shapes, letters, numbers and emotions. Each card is made from a non-toxic plastic manufactured in the U.S. “Children deserve materials that are beautiful, durable, indispensable and irresistible,” Camp said. “We’ve done our best to design exactly that for our children and subsequently for your children as well.” The cards range between $8 and $22 a deck.
SO Awesome’s products are popular among kids and parents. After successfully funding two Kickstarter campaigns, Camp received suggestions from all around the world of wallet card decks she should work on next. One request she kept getting was emotions. “The card sets that were available on the market used corny-looking photography and illustrations or were so limited in range of emotion that we were a bit taken aback,” Camp explained. So she worked with photographer Rhiannon McCalmont and illustrator Marie Thorhauge to photograph and draw images of children experiencing genuine emotions.
“Some children need literal examples, others are overwhelmed by photography and need something representative instead,” Camp told The Mighty. “As a result we have a powerful tool that helps calm anxious children, helps develop social-emotional skills, works to spark conversation with our children about topics that previously were elusive and overwhelming, and most of all shows that all emotions are valuable, valid and important. The cards will last through violent panic attacks, can be worn on a child’s belt-loop as an aid on outings, and last through repeated daily use in classrooms.”
SO Awesome’s durable cards also help Silas and Owen, now 6, with their sensory processing. Camp uses the emotion cards to help her boys recover after moments of sensory overload. “We find a calm and quiet space to talk, sometimes physically hold and push one each other, yell, hug, rock and breathe,” Camp said. “Seeing those pictures makes them feel less afraid to just feel and makes them more likely to experience a connection to someone else’s feelings too.”