As a mother-daughter duo, Vicki (Mum) and I embarked on a remarkable journey that led us to establish The Sensory Poodle, a store that has become a beacon of support and empowerment for neurodivergent individuals.
Inspired by my own children, Evie and Lincoln, who are neurodivergent and incredibly special. We opened the store with a vision to serve our local community. However, it quickly became apparent that the need for our products extended far beyond our immediate area, and we now proudly serve customers nationwide. Drawing on my experience as a former swim instructor working with children and adults with additional needs, and Vicki's background as a psychiatric nurse, we aim to bring high-quality sensory and educational products to individuals of all abilities.
Within our family, Lincoln at the age of 3.5 years old had a passion that has inspired us all – his love for the periodic table. From a very young age, he displayed an incredible fascination with the elements and their unique properties. As a toddler, while other children might have been captivated by traditional toys, Lincoln's eyes would light up when he saw the periodic table. We recognised the importance of nurturing his interest and supporting his intellectual development.
He would sit and flip through his books of elements that was gifted to him, Memorising the atomic weights and compiling a list in his brain of which elements belonged to which groups. He would then subsequently test all members of our family to make sure we knew all of this info, most of the time we failed... I once answered that I thought Palladium was a gas (I have no idea), it is in fact a “Transition Metal”. He cackled as he told me I was wrong. It’s these little moments that I cherish with him.
This passion of his led us to introduce a range of products for gifted children and children with different types of special interests. He is now 8 and his special interest right now is Mario and Pokémon so we will see where to next for him, but he is an incredible young kiddo.
My daughter Evie who is 5 has been singing since before she could talk. It is seriously the cutest thing ever, it’s loud and obnoxious and I love it!
She is very echolalic and was non-speaking until about age 4. We have found her love of Number blocks and certain shows, along with therapy has massively helped her speech progression and she is continuing to improve every day. She is the funniest kid I’ve ever met and keeps us all on our toes. She is very picky on who she will let into her world, so if she chooses you to be a part of your world, count your blessings. She has been so lucky to have such an amazing support system around her, including her amazing grandparents who live just around the road from us, her amazing teachers over the last few years, one very special teacher who she shares a beautiful bond with and her amazingly dedicated therapy team.
Vicki (Mum) has been my biggest support system through all these years and continues to be my pillar of strength through the hard times. My kids are very lucky to have such amazing grandparents in her and their Pop.
The journey of raising neurodivergent children comes with its fair share of challenges. I experienced the constant need to be present for my children, particularly when it came to meltdowns and high-needs situations. Phone calls from school seeking my assistance became a regular occurrence, as the staff recognised my ability to calm and support my children during these difficult moments.
These frequent phone calls made it nearly impossible for me to hold down a traditional job. I needed to be available for my children at all times, as therapy sessions, appointments, and school demands filled our daily lives. It was during these moments of vulnerability that I realised the need for a flexible and understanding work environment—one that would allow me to provide the care and attention my children required.
What started as a humble venture to support our local community quickly grew beyond our wildest expectations. The overwhelming response from families across Australia made it clear that our mission resonated deeply. We now proudly serve customers from all corners of the country, offering them a wide range of sensory and educational tools.
The creation of The Sensory Poodle was not merely a business venture; it was a labour of love born out of our deep devotion to Evie and Lincoln. We wanted nothing more than to see them succeed and flourish, and we were determined to do everything in our power to make that happen. It was clear to me that our local community lacked the resources necessary to support neurodivergent individuals fully, and I felt compelled to fill that void.
With the invaluable support and expertise of Mum, Vicki, we embarked on this endeavour together. Vicki understands the unique needs of individuals with diverse abilities, and her experience and guidance were instrumental in shaping our product selection. Together, we embarked on a mission to bring quality sensory and educational products to our community, with the ultimate goal of supporting and empowering neurodivergent individuals and their families.
At The Sensory Poodle, we believe in the power of sensory tools to promote calmness and well-being. For instance, our Sensory Jellyfish Lamps provides a mesmerising visual experience, with gentle, colour-changing lights that create a soothing ambience.
I have gifted one to my kid’s teacher every year at school and it’s always been a hit! We have also introduced Calm Strips, they are textured reusable fidget strips perfect for desks, drink bottles or on a necklace, which offer a calming tactile experience and help individuals focus in their environment.
On a personal level, the success of The Sensory Poodle has granted me the flexibility to be there for my children during every step of their journey. Being able to stay home and provide the care, love, and support they need is a privilege that I cherish deeply. Every milestone, therapy session, and triumph are shared together, strengthening the bond between us.
As a mother, my love for Evie and Lincoln knows no bounds. Their happiness and success are my utmost priorities, and I will do anything in my power to see them flourish. The creation of The Sensory Poodle was fuelled by this unconditional love, as I wanted to ensure that my children had access to the best resources available to support their emotional regulation, sensory exploration, and overall well-being. Witnessing the positive impact our store has had on their lives and the lives of others fills me with an overwhelming sense of gratitude and fulfilment.
Furthermore, our dedication to community support is unwavering. We actively donate our products to schools and charities, ensuring that those who may not have had access to these resources can now benefit from them. Giving back to the community has become an integral part of our mission, as we strive to foster inclusivity and support individuals of all abilities.
Caitlin & Vicki Founders and owners of The Sensory Poodle
0450 442 515 email@example.com