This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Which special education school supplies are best?

When disabilities impact childrens’ ability to learn in typical ways, they have unique learning needs. Special education is the term for services and resources provided to students with special learning needs to get the most out of their time in school. 

Special education school supplies are for students with physical, emotional and intellectual disabilities. If you have a special needs student that needs to be in a comfortable and secure place from time to time, take a look at the Sensory4u Indoor Therapy Swing for Kids with Special Needs.

What to know before you buy special education school supplies

Choose from a variety of categories of special education school supplies designed to meet specific needs.

Motor skills 

Motor skills are the ability to use a set of muscles to perform everyday tasks. Motor difficulties happen when special education students cannot move their muscles in the way they intend. 

  • Gross motor skills involve large muscles and include walking, jumping, climbing stairs, riding a bicycle and throwing. 
  • Fine motor skills involve the smaller muscles, especially the hands and fingers. Fine motor skills determine a person’s manual dexterity. Fine motor skills include such activities as turning pages, grasping a pencil, drawing, turning doorknobs, using zippers and using a knife and fork to feed oneself. The more complicated the fine motor activities, the greater the need for hand-eye coordination.

Fidget toys

Fidget toys are the first things that come to mind when people think of ways to reduce a special education child’s anxiety. Fidget toys provide relief in stressful situations by calming the student and reducing anxiety. Fidget toys help children with autism and ADHD to concentrate by helping them filter out distractions. Fidget toys increase focus by decreasing feelings of boredom, too. The key is finding fidget toys that don’t distract the others.

Calming devices

Sometimes special education students feel overwhelmed and need a sense of calm. School supplies like therapy swings, snuggle blankets, headphones and weighted blankets help anxious special education students regain their calm and composure.


Special education students can have problems expressing themselves for many different reasons. One of them is when they cannot put things into words. Special school supplies help by allowing students to point at simple words and pictures that get their point across to the teacher and the other students. Other choices include flip boards, flashcards and emoji tools.


Some special education students have trouble keeping track of where they are on a line or page while reading. This leads them to skip lines, which reduces their ability to comprehend. The special education tools that help these students allow them to stay focused by marking their place with reader trackers and highlighter strips.


Some special education kids need help regulating their behavior. They benefit from school supplies that monitor and track their activities and behavior, like charts, reminder bracelets, punch cards and reward boards.

What to look for in quality special education school supplies

Look for school supplies that match the learning needs of your special education students. Choose supplies that are safe, durable and practical.

How much you can expect to spend on special education school supplies

Simple trackers, incentives and fidget toys cost as little as $10. Kits and sets of things like flashcards can cost from $20-$30 or so. 

Special education school supplies FAQ

Are there things made for older kids with special learning needs?

A. Yes, and they are mostly electronic devices like video and audio recorders and tablet and phone apps designed for very specific needs.

Where do you start if you have a classroom full of special education kids with very different needs?

A. Start with the items that will benefit the largest number of your special education students. Two of the most common problems in the classroom are anxiety and communication, so start there. Make sure to have a wide selection of devices, tools and toys that reduce students’ anxiety. Another big help is to have a set of word and picture cards that anyone can use. These allow kids who struggle to express themselves to get their point across.

What are the best special education school supplies to buy?

Top special education school supplies

Sensory4u Indoor Therapy Swing for Kids with Special Needs

Sensory4u Indoor Therapy Swing for Kids with Special Needs

What you need to know: This soft swing comforts special needs kids by swaddling them in soft fabric.

What you’ll love: The soft and stretchy cotton fabric allows kids to relax in any position. This updated version is much wider and now can safely cradle kids up to 150 pounds. This therapy swing is calming and promotes coordination and balance, improves motor skills and strengthens muscles.

What you should consider: You will need a stud finder, drill and wrench to install this therapy swing safely.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top special education school supplies for the money

Show to Tell Communication Cards

Show to Tell Communication Cards

What you need to know: This set of 24 cards with basic phrases and pictures helps special education kids communicate. 

What you’ll love: These communication cards are easy to flip through because they’re attached to a large plastic ring. Special education students can communicate with the teacher and each other by choosing the appropriate word or phrase, from a simple yes or no to practical words and phrases like “please give me” and “bathroom.”  When special education students can get their messages across, their frustration and anxiety are reduced. 

What you should consider: The idea is a good one, but some would like to have more phrases.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Fi-gent Sensory Fidget Toys Anxiety and Stress Relief Bundle

Fi-gent Sensory Fidget Toys Anxiety and Stress Relief Bundle

What you need to know: This multipack has enough fidget toys to keep everyone’s hands busy.

What you’ll love: The assortment makes the difference with this special education student school supply. This bundle includes stretch and squeeze toys, mini cubes, links, squishies, balls, bunnies, slime and liquid motion toys that help reduce special education students’ anxieties. The silicone used in most of these toys is soft and stretchy.

What you should consider: Some wish the fidget toys were larger.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.