What is Project SOOTHe (Sensory Opportunities Offering Therapeutic Help)

For children who have experienced trauma, it can be difficult to feel safe and securely attached in a new home, no matter how loving or supportive that home is. But there’s hope for them...and for you as a caregiver!

One of the best ways to support the children in your life is to understand and meet their sensory processing needs. And Project SOOTHe can help. 

Project SOOTHe Overview 

Thank you again so much for your time and advice! We have begun to change our language from tantrums to meltdowns... Ryan had difficulty the other night accepting that he couldn't ride his sister's scooter. When he had his meltdown, we offered slime, the blanket while he sat in dad's lap, juice and a pickle popsicle. We didn't talk about what was going on, we just went straight into soothe mode. We couldn't have done it without you. We know there is a lot of work ahead, but you have helped us make some good steps, and get us motivated. Thanks so much!
- Brandi, Foster Mother

What is Sensory Processing? 

We’re glad you asked. Sensory processing is the way our nervous system receives sensory messages and information, and turns them into responses. For example, when we walk into a loud room or brush up against another person, our brain takes cues from those interactions and tells our bodies how to respond.

About Sensory Processing 

What is Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)?

SPD is a neurological disorder in which sensory signals aren’t organized into appropriate responses. Children with SPD perceive and/or respond to sensory information differently than other people and this disorganization interrupts their daily routines.

Oftentimes, these children are labeled “troublemakers” because their sensory processing needs aren’t understood, and therefore, aren’t met. The good news is that meeting their unique needs can make all the difference!

5% of kids deal with SPD, but an estimated 80% of kids with traumatic backgrounds experience challenges with SPD.

Sensory Opportunities We Offer

Through Project SOOTHe, we provide sensory objects such as weighted blankets, swings, sensory toys, and white noise machines that can help ease anxiety for children.

These objects calm the central nervous system, help little (and big) bodies process stress, and increase the release of serotonin, a hormone that stabilizes things like mood and sleep.

If you're a foster parent, case worker or therapist interested in applying for any of the following items for a specific child in the Austin area foster care system, please submit the request form below and we’ll connect with you. The child must currently be residing in Hays, Travis, Williamson, Caldwell, and Bastrop counties.

  • Custom Weighted Blanket (we'll need approval from a professional who knows the child to confirm the safest weight)
  • White Noise Machine
  • Weighted Vest
  • Therapeutic Swing
  • Infant Wrap/Carrier
  • Swaddle Blanket
  • Sensory-Specific Toys

 Symptoms of SPD 

Seize the Play

Through Project SOOTHe, we provide opportunities for caregivers to learn more about all things sensory processing. We offer regular sensory play days for you to connect with other caregivers while the kids play and ongoing trainings with SPD experts who have real-life SPD experience.

What is Sensory Play?

Sensory play is important for healthy development and includes any activity that uses our senses: touch, smell, taste, movement, balance, sight, and hearing.

Why is Sensory Play Beneficial?

  • Research shows that sensory play…
    • builds nerve connections in the brain which helps with more complex learning.
    • supports language development, cognitive growth, motor skills, problem solving skills, and social interaction.
    • develops and enhances memory.
    • calms anxious or frustrated children.
    • helps children learn sensory attributes like hot, cold, sticky, dry.

Contact Our Team 

Complete the Project SOOTHe Request Form for help, and we'll connect with you in the next couple days. 



Have questions? Reach out to our Project SOOTHe Coordinator, Rachel DiMasi, at rachel@fostervillageaustin.org.

Helpful Resources


Connect with other families while the kids play
during our Sensory Play Days.     

View Events



Check out calming techniques and additional
info about SPD.

View Downloadables



Learn more about sensory processing from
the experts. 

View Blog Posts