Sensory Kids Store
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Press Releases…


New Sensory Kids® Store First of Its Kind

At last, a One-Stop, Typical Shopping Experience for Families of Kids With Developmental Differences!

CHICAGO, IL (February 2012)

Bellybum® Boutique Introduces The Sensory Kids® Store!

For parents whose children have developmental differences, finding the tools and resources needed to support their children's individual sensory and therapeutic needs, has—until now—been a daunting, clinical task both online and off. Bellybum® Boutique, an established Chicago boutique and online store has revolutionized this experience by opening its new Sensory Kids® Store. The Store makes shopping for all of the necessary sensory and developmental toys, therapeutic aids, clothing and resources an all-inclusive, one-stop, simple, fun, "typical" experience both in-store and online.

Contact: Jennifer Fortney,  Cascade Communications


New Sensory Kids® Store First of Its Kind

At last, a One-Stop, Typical Shopping Experience for Families of Kids With Developmental Differences!

CHICAGO, IL (February 2012)

Bellybum® Boutique Introduces The Sensory Kids® Store!

Since its inception, Bellybum® Boutique focused on offering expectant and new parents top-of-the-line, eco-friendly products in an inclusive environment, and is now filling another void for parents. Store owner Ellen Sternweiler is a mother of three children-each possessing myriad developmental and sensory processing issues. After eight difficult years navigating the world of special needs she realized "it just shouldn't have to be so hard!" Having children with developmental differences is tough enough; finding the tools necessary to support their needs at home and in school should be easy. She also realized that most resources are focused on catering to clinicians and educators rather than parents and children. The Sensory Kids® Store at Bellybum changes this. The focus is on the families it serves and creating a typical retail environment, providing for the needs of all kids, where it's as fun as it is easy to shop. 

."After years of scouring endless catalogs, medical and industrial websites; and ultimately relying heavily on our therapists, doctors and educators to assist us in finding all of the products we required to support the unique needs of each of our children, I resolved to change the experience for fellow parents struggling with the same issues," said Sternweiler. "Frankly, it's tough enough having a child with extra needs, why does it have to be hard to shop as well?”

The Sensory Kids® Store at Bellybum is the first retail and online store of its kind in the country. Whilea handful of stores have opened catering specifically to the needs of Autistic Children, The Sensory Kids Store supports the developmental needs of all kids. Every child can benefit from a healthy "sensory diet", some just need more than others. At Sensory Kids®, Items specific to children with "developmental differences" are not limited to children on the spectrum. The store provides for the needs of kids struggling with any type of disability, disease or delay-physical or neurological-that affects his/her ability to function in everyday life. With ease of navigation in mind, Sternweiler has simplified categories in The Sensory Kids® Store to avoid clinical descriptions and terminology whenever possible, and has limited her inventory to only the best products for any given need. "Parents don't want to wade through a warehouse of 15,000 products looking for what they need. They only need one or two. We've done the legwork for them.”

The store houses dozens of products organized simply and in lay-terms by sense/skill. For example, as opposed to the using the clinical term "Vestibular" the sub-category is just called "Balance." Product categories include: Seeing, Hearing, Talking, Touching, Smelling, Moving, Feeling, Learning and Multi-Sensory.

Experts say that sensory-focused toys and products like these can be great tools to help parents and kids reinforce at home and in their everyday lives what they learn in formal therapy setting. Although the items in the store were selected specifically because they can assist children with a variety of special needs, kids without sensory challenges will also enjoy the selection.

"All kids benefit from a sensory diet. Kids with developmental disabilities just need more," Sternweiler said. "Having easy access to these items in a warm, comfortable, fun environment is a great resource for any parent, and potentially profound for kids and parents facing developmental challenges.”

Contact: Jennifer Fortney,  Cascade Communications


About The Sensory Kids® Store

UPDATED (November 2016)

Opened in 2009 by Ellen Sternweiler, Bellybum® Boutique & The Sensory Kids® Stores were originally located in Chicago's Lincoln Square/ Northcenter neighborhoods. In 2014, Sternweiler decided to close Bellybum Boutique to focus solely on The Sensory Kids Store. Now relocated to Wilmette, IL, the store continues to serve the Greater Chicagoland community as well as the ever growing national and international community of families with differently abled children who need these products and support—The Sensory Kids Store now sells products online; through one-on-one product consulting services to parents, community groups, schools, clinics and educational events and by appointment in the Sensory Kids Store showroom. The store carries a complete line of developmental and sensory toys, school and therapy aids, sensory clothing, therapy furniture, books, gifts and accessories. Sternweiler regularly hosts support groups and workshops for parents and educators to help them navigate the challenges of raising and caring for children with developmental differences. The Sensory Kid Store has been featured on SPD Parent Zone, 190North Chicago, ABC News Chicago, Fox News Chicago: Make It Better, Chicago Special Parent Magazine, Family Time Magazine, Westchester Family Magazine, OnTheGo Chicago, DailyCandy, Chicago Magazine, WGN-TV, Time Out Chicago Kids, Chicago Parent, and more.

Contact: Jennifer Fortney, Cascade Communications