Ultimate Sensory Bags Guide for Babies, Toddlers, & Kids

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If you're looking for a fun, mess-free way to help your child develop cognitive and motor skills, sensory bags offer endless possibilities for exploration and learning.

As an autistic adult, I know firsthand that sensory play is a fun way to help neurodivergent kids with cognitive development, language skills, and self-regulation. So let's dive into the world of sensory bags, explaining their benefits and how they can help children of all ages, including those on the autism spectrum. I'll also provide a step-by-step guide on how to make sensory bags, along with age-appropriate and themed sensory bag ideas.

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Little Mermaid Themed Seek And Find Discovery Bags | I-Spy Game |...
Sensory Bag, Personalized Sensory Pouch, Birthday Gift, I Spy Bag, Clear Fidget...
Seek And Find Sensory Bags | ISpy Game | Weighted Discovery Bags...
Last update was on: May 21, 2024 10:25 PM

Sensory Bag Basics

What are sensory bags?

Sensory bags, also called squish bags, are durable pouches filled with a variety of materials that engage the senses. These materials can range from liquids and gels to beads, foam shapes, and even small toys. The goal of a sensory bag is to stimulate the senses in a safe, controlled environment. They provide a tactile experience that can be manipulated with touch, allowing children to squeeze, press, and move the contents around without the mess.

What are the educational benefits of sensory bags?

Sensory bags have tremendous educational benefits when used at home or in the classroom. According to research analyzed in an article published by Michigan State University, sensory play “is the foundation of all the skills children will use in school learning to read, write and solve math and science problems. Once a child has these experiences, they are able to draw upon the body memory and cognitive memory of their experiences when faced with new situations.”

Sensory pouches can be used to teach children about different textures, colors, shapes, and even scientific concepts such as mixing colors. Sensory bags for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers aid in developing fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. For older children, they can be used to explore more complex concepts such as density and viscosity.

Do sensory bags have therapeutic benefits?

Yes, sensory bags can be used in therapy settings including early intervention. They provide diverse sensory input and encourage toddlers and preschoolers to explore unfamiliar textures in a fun, safe way. They can be calming and soothing, making them ideal for children with sensory processing disorders, autism, or ADHD. By manipulating the contents of the bag, children can self-regulate their emotions and manage anxiety or stress.

Sensory play helps develop proprioception, the awareness of one’s body in space. Kids learn where their body parts are relative to one another and can practice picking up, holding, pulling, stretching, and squeezing a sensory bag.

Sensory play also helps babies and toddlers develop their vestibular system, which regulates balance and coordination.

If you're a special educator or occupational therapist, sensory bags can be a valuable asset in your toolkit. Whether you're working with a child who needs help developing fine motor skills, a teen struggling with anxiety, or an adult who benefits from tactile stimulation, they are a low-cost intervention that can be tailored to meet the unique needs of each individual.

Exun Pop Crossbody Purse Bags Fidget Toy Pack, Bunny Shoulder Bag Mini...
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LESONG Sensory Toy for Toddlers Kids 12 Pack, Water Beads Toys Anxiety...
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15 Pcs Sensory Textured Squares Sensory Bean Bags Teachable Sensory Play Mini...
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Last update was on: June 13, 2024 9:14 PM

How Sensory Bags Help Kids on the Autism Spectrum

Sensory bags can be therapeutic for kids and adults with autism. Autistic people have sensory processing difficulties that cause us to perceive tactile sensations differently from neurotypical people. We can be sensory-avoidant, sensory-seeking, or (most commonly) a combination of both. Often, kids on the autism spectrum need the opportunity to explore new textures at their own pace, and sensory play is a great way to do that.

Sensory Bag Safety Considerations

While sensory bags offer a world of easy entertainment and educational experiences, it's essential to consider your child's safety.

  • Adult supervision should be required during sensory play of any kind.
  • Check bags for any damage, such as leaks or tears, that could lead to spillage or choking hazards. Opt for non-toxic and hypoallergenic materials whenever possible.
  • Teach kids how to use sensory bags properly. Show them how to gently squish and manipulate the bags to feel the different textures and items inside, and explain why they shouldn't open the bags or put the contents in their mouths.
  • Be especially cautious about using any sensory toys with children and adults who have pica, a disorder that causes people to compulsively eat non-food items. They may attempt to rip the bag open and eat the contents.
  • Clean bags frequently, especially sensory bags for babies. Use soap and water to wash the bag, scrubbing it gently to remove any dirt or residue. After washing, let the bag air dry before using it again.

By keeping these safety aspects in mind, you can ensure that sensory play is a source of joy, exploration, and learning for your child.

Rainbows on Cream I Spy Sensory Bag - Travel Seek and Find...
I Spy Bag Sensory Bag
Last update was on: May 21, 2024 10:25 PM

Tips for Sensory Bag Playtime

When your child is playing with sensory bags, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Offer verbal and physical cues to guide the child through the activity.
  • Permit the child to take necessary breaks if they become overwhelmed or experience sensory overload.
  • Offer positive reinforcement to encourage participation and focus.
  • Be aware of the child’s individual needs and adjust the activities accordingly.

Proper supervision and guidance can transform sensory bag playtime into a fun and educational experience for children of all ages.

Age-Appropriate Sensory Bag Ideas

Buy or make sensory bags to align with your child’s developmental stage and interests to guarantee an age-appropriate educational sensory experience.

Tummy Time Sensory Bags for Babies

Tummy time is essential for babies, as it helps them develop their neck, shoulder, and back muscles. Sensory bags for babies can make tummy time even more enjoyable!

Art3d 6-Tile Sensory Room Tile Multi-Color Exercise Mat Liquid Encased Floor Playmat Kids Play Floor Tile, 16 Sq.Ft

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Baby Water Pad Water Play Mat for Infants Toddlers Early Development Activities Inflatable Tummy Time Water Mat for 3-48 Months...

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Splashin'kids Inflatable Tummy Time Premium Water mat with Mirror and rattles Infants Toddlers The Perfect Fun time Play Activity Center...

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Sensory Play Mat, 4 in 1 XL Squish Panel

Use this fun and colorful Sensory Play Mat in a calm corner, in the classroom, for tummy time, or any place you want to add a "splash" of sensory fun (without the mess!). Each ...

Art3d Liquid Sensory Floor Decorative Tiles,19.7"x19.7" Pie, Colorful, Liquid Fusion Activity Play Centers for Children, Toddler, Teens

About this item Bright cosmic liquid color that moves with every step, jump, dance, or hop; environmental protection and safety, nontoxic for children Size: 19.7"x19.7" No need ...

Floor Tiles Mat Liquid Wall Panel Puzzle Decorative Fooling 19.7" x19.7" Fancy Playmat Kids Play

Size : 50 cm x 50 cm (19.7" X 19.7") Thickness :4mm (0.16") liquid floor 2mm (0.08") anti-slip mat Principal Ingredients: Safety liquid PVC Weight : 2 kg/pcs (50cm) , No ...

BABY CRINKLE TOYS are a Baby Favorite! Perfect Baby Gift! Fun Shapes, Bright Colors, Huggable, Tactile, Crinkle Noise to Delight...

BABY'S FAVORITE TOY IS A SWEET CRINKLE TOY WITH RIBBONS! Crinkle Toy Shapes: Bunny, Carrot, Strawberry, Ice Cream, Watermelon, Chili, Star, Rocket, Crayon, Butterfly, and ...

Sensory Bags for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Keep babies and toddlers entertained by placing bags on their high chair tray or on the floor. Watch as they delight in discovering new textures, colors, and shapes – it’s so much fun! For toddlers and preschoolers who are standing and walking, standing play sensory bags offer a fun and interactive way to explore their senses. Tape the bags on surfaces that are chest or shoulder height of your child, ensuring they can easily fidget with the items inside. Consider using these sensory activity bags with small toys or objects to explore and manipulate, different colors and shapes to sort and match, and sensory materials like rice, sand, or playdough.

Creativity for Kids Sensory Squish Bag: Ocean Adventure - Toddler Sensory Mat, Calming Toys and Motor Skills Activities for Kids...

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Squishy Sensory Toys for Kids - Fidget Toy Sensory Tube Filled with Colorful Goo, Glitter, Calming Tool for Autism, Anxiety,...

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GooToobz Originals - Squishy Sensory Tubes - Filled with Colorful Goo, Glitter and Beads | Non-Toxic, Squeezable Fidget | Stress...

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Sensory toys for baby, Montessori toys for baby, baby sensory toys, baby boy or baby girl gift, Toddler toy, baby...

This complete set of 4 clear sensory pouches will give your baby hours of sensory fun. Designed in response to customers who found Wonder's Journey sensory bottles to be too big ...

Montessori Sensory toys for baby, Waldorf fidget toy, Clear sensory bags, Baby boy or girl shower gift, calm down toy

This set of 4 clear pouches will give your baby hours of sensory fun. Designed in response to customers who found Wonder's Journey sensory bottles to be too big for their littlest ...

Sensory Bags for Teens and Adults

You're never too old for sensory play! Squish bags and I Spy bags are great for teenagers and adults. They are perfect portable stim toys and desk toys for people with ADHD, autism, anxiety, and other forms of neurodivergence. You can even buy sensory bags that double as wallets and purses! By choosing bags tailored to the interests and needs of older children, teens, and adults, you can ensure an enjoyable experience that caters to their unique sensory preferences.

Rainbow Sensory Gift Set

This colorful set is perfect for gifting! This set includes some of our best-selling handmade sensory items, in all the colors of the rainbow! It's all held in a reusable zipper ...

I Spy Bag, Moons and Stars, Busy Bag, Eye Spy Game, Educational Game, Busy Bag, Seek and Find, I Spy...

How many times have you heard – “Are we there yet?” “I’m bored!” “He’s touching me.” “How much longer?” I Spy Bags are the perfect busy bag toy for your purse, diaper bag or car ...

I Spy Bag Sensory Bag

These I Spy sensory bags are great for kids to use as a fidget or a toy when they are bored. They can be used in the car, waiting in a waiting room for an appointment or any other ...

Sensory Toy with River Stones and Tree Branch Pieces for Young Children and People with Sensory Needs, Reggio Emilia Inspired

5" x 5" x 0.5" These beautiful sensory pouches provide safe, early exposure to loose parts with a variety of colors, shapes, sounds and textures. Heavy duty canvas, and thin, ...

Sensory Toy with Seashells For Young Children, People with Sensory Needs, Reggio Emilia Inspired

Dimensions: 5.5" x 5.5" x 0.5" These beautiful sensory pouches provide safe, early exposure to loose parts with a variety of colors, shapes, sounds and textures. The seashells ...

Mini Sensory Toy with Nuts and Bolts Hardware

A mini version of our popular Nut and Bolts Hardware sensory pouch is now available! Dimensions are approximately 3" x 3"

Sensory Necklace, Wearable Art Fidget with Gemstones, Tree Pieces, or Sequins. Leather or Nylon cord.

A sensory toy that you can wear! Inspired by our larger fabric backed sensory toys, these unique accessories measure: 2.5" x 2.5" with a clear window measuring 1.75" x 1.75" We ...

Liquid Glitter Zip Clutch - Midnight Glam - Glitter Clutch

Liquid Glitter Zip Clutch - Midnight Glam Night out on the town? This is the bag for you! Filled with cute little holographic silver

Liquid Glitter Cross Body Purse - Fly Away with Me - Butterfly Purse - Jelly Purse - Clear Purse -...

Liquid Glitter Cross Body Purse - Fly Away with Me Feeling those Summer vibes?! This purse is filled with tiny butterflies, hearts and flowers floating around in clear liquid. ...

For more handmade I Spy bags teens and adults will love, check out Quiltology by Quincy, Our Sew Good Life,  and Reggio Baby. For purses and wallets, visit Electric Bubblegum.

 

Premade Sensory Bags: A Convenient Option

Premade sensory bags are a convenient option for those who may not have the time or resources to create their own sensory bags. These sensory bags for babies, kids, and beyond come pre-filled with a variety of materials, providing a ready-to-use sensory play tool. They are available in a wide range of themes and designs, catering to different age groups and interests.

Premade sensory bags can also be a great gift idea for birthdays or holidays. They offer a fun and educational play option that can keep children occupied for hours. So, if you're looking for a hassle-free way to provide your child with more sensory stimulation and play opportunities, premade sensory bags could be the perfect solution.

I Spy Bags with Hidden Objects

Hidden object sensory bags, also known as I Spy bags, are like a pocket-sized treasure hunt. These pouches contain a plain filler (often rice) mixed with a few colorful objects and a clear window on one side. The goal is to seek and find objects and then push them into view by manipulating the contents with your fingers. They make a great screen-free fun activity for all ages.

I Spy Bag, Sensory Bag, Seek and Find Bag, Quiet Play Bag, Activity bag 4" x 4" w/15 trinket pieces...

I Spy/Sensory bags are bags filled with small trinkets and plastic pellets with a vinyl transparent window sewn in front for viewing. Great for road trips, doctor’s visits or any ...

Seek And Find Sensory Bags 4 Pack | ISPY Game | Discovery Bags | Weighted Quiet Activity | Fun For...

This post is for 4 bags. Bags are sold individually for $10 each, making this a buy three get one free deal. You can get single bags here: ...

I Spy Bag

This I Spy bag is the perfect screen free boredom buster. It’s the perfect size to toss in a purse or diaper bag. It’s perfect for entertaining your child in the car, in a waiting ...

I Spy Bag, Rockets Glow in the Dark, Car Game, Educational Game, Busy Bag, I Spy Game, Party Favor, Eye...

How many times have you heard – “Are we there yet?” “I’m bored!” “He’s touching me.” “How much longer?” I Spy Bags are the perfect busy bag toy for your purse, diaper bag or car ...

I Spy Bag Sensory Bag

These I Spy sensory bags are great for kids to use as a fidget or a toy when they are bored. They can be used in the car, waiting in a waiting room for an appointment or any other ...

Looking for more I Spy bags? Check out these small businesses: Joyful Bundles, Time Worth Wasting, and Janet R.

Themed Sensory Bags

These I Spy bags are themed around seasons, holidays, and activities so you can keep playtime fresh and relevant.

Halloween I Spy Bag, Sensory Toy, Colorful Seek and Find Game, Kid's Halloween Toy, Fall Kid Gift, Find It Sensory...

Halloween is going to look a little different this year, but that doesn't mean it has to be any less fun! As parents we have to adapt and discover a new way to celebrate the ...

Christmas I Spy Bag, Sensory Toy, Colorful Seek and Find Game, Kid's Fidget Toy, Quiet Game Kid Gift, Sensory Learning...

Christmas is a holiday loved by kids and adults alike. We make plenty of Christmas goodies for adults, so this one is just for the kids. These adorable little I-Spy bags are the ...

Easter I Spy Bag, Pastel Polka Dots Sensory Toy, Colorful Seek and Find Game, Kid's Learning Toy, Educational Kid Gift,...

Building skills is a necessity for all kids, but it doesn't have to be a bore! With these I-Spy bags, improving a variety of skills can be an exciting searching game! What's ...

St. Patrick’s Day I Spy Bag, Sensory Toy, Colorful Seek and Find Game, Kid's Learning Toy, Educational Kid Gift, Find...

Building skills is a necessity for all kids, but it doesn't have to be a bore! With these I-Spy bags, improving a variety of skills can be an exciting searching game! What's ...

Valentine’s Day I Spy Bag, Heart Sensory Toy, Colorful Seek and Find Game, Kid's Learning Toy, Educational Kid Gift, Find...

Building skills is a necessity for all kids, but it doesn't have to be a bore! With these I-Spy bags, improving a variety of skills can be an exciting searching game! What's ...

Sports Hunt I-Spy Bag

Get the perfect gift for parents and littles with an I-Spy sports hunt bag! Kids manually manipulate and squish bags to find each letter bead for a fun and educational play time ...

Educational Sensory Bags

These bags are designed to teach important concepts such as numbers, letters, and facial expressions. They can be especially helpful for autistic children and kids with developmental delays who are kinesthetic and/or visual learners. 

Learning Educational Sensory Toys Kids: Math Numbers Montessori Toys for Preschool Toddlers 3 4 5 6 7 Year Old -...

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Toddlers Montessori Toy for Boys Girls 3 4 Years Old, Education Learning Colors & Shapes Sorting Toys, Water Beads Sensory...

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Alphabet Letters Sensory Toys for Kids - Short Vowel Reading Letters Spelling Games, Classroom Must Haves Sight Words Educational Toy...

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Water Beads Sensory Toys for Toddlers, Ages 3+ Social Emotional Learning Toy For Boys Girls, Communication Feeling Toys for Kids,...

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Alphabet I Spy Bag, Sensory Toy, Colorful Seek and Find Game, Kid's Learning Toy, Educational Kid Gift, Find It Sensory...

Learning letters is a necessity for all kids, but it doesn't have to be a bore! With these I-Spy bags, learning letters can be an exciting searching game! What's better than a ...

Animal Hunt I-Spy Bag

Get the perfect gift for parents and littles with an I-Spy animal hunt bag! Kids manually manipulate and squish bags to find each animal bead for a fun and sensory play time ...

Fabric Sensory Bags

Fabric sensory bags are a safer alternative to plastic bags for babies, toddlers, and others who might try to rip them open. They are often filled with rice or other grains that make soothing sounds and can provide tactile sensory input through the fabric.

Texture Sensory Bean Bags,Toddler Sensory Toys for Babies,Preschool Toys Set of 13 Beanbags, Shape Sensory Bean Bags with Storage Bag,Develop...

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Marble Maze Finger Fidget

Squeeze the completely enclosed marble around the soft fleece maze. This deceptively simple fidget is great for children and adults alike. The uncomplicated mazes are perfect for ...

SPY BAG, Sensory Toy for fine motor skills, Sensory Bag, Travel Toys, Montessori toys, Activity Bag, Spy Game

Spy backs are excellent sensoric toys that will entertain and occupy your kids while you travel or have to spend some time at the doctor's. The idea is for kids to gradually ...

sensory bags different fabrics Montessori - stereognostic sense - fine motor skills - sensorial activity - bean bags - pairs

A set of 12 sensory bags. PICTURES ARE ONLY AN ORIENTATION OF WHAT YOU WILL RECEIVE! EVERY SET IS DIFFERENT. Options: - 6 pairs of plain fabrics with different textures. The ...

Water Sensory Pouches

A water sensory pouch contains liquid plus water beads and/or small toys, and is designed to be squeezed for hours of rewarding sensory play. Water bags must always be used with supervision, especially for babies and toddlers, as they may contain hair gel, baby oil, detergent, or other liquids that should never be consumed.

Day and Night Sensory Bag, I spy bag, Sensory Pouches, Gel Mats, Squishy Panels, Montessori, Fidget Toy, Birthday gift

Day and Night Sensory Pouches These sensory pouches of about 12cmx12cm allows baby / child / grown-up to respond to their thirst for curiosity. The sensory pouches allow the ...

Squish Panels- Set of FOUR

Fidgety hands love these squish panels filled with colorful and fun contents! Squeeze, squish, or rub the plastic pouches to move the water beads, gel, glitter and googly eyes ...

Squish Panel

Squish panels are like a squeezable, squishable calm bottle! Soft plastic pouches are filled with interesting and calming contents such as glitter, gel, water beads, and more. ...

Poke Pouch | Squish Mat, Squish Panel, Sensory Bag, Water Mat, Sensory Toy

5x6 inch Poke Pouch This very simple, handmade sensory item is is sure to fascinate! Gently press and poke with fingertips to create swirls. Made of high quality, transparent pvc ...

See more squish bags at SensiPal Store.  

 

Step-by-Step Guide: Creating Your Own Sensory Bag

Ready to get creative? Here's a quick DIY sensory bags tutorial.

YouTube video

Preparing the Bag

Start by selecting a high-quality resealable plastic bag, like a ziplock bag, ensuring it has the appropriate size and strength to accommodate the fillers you’ve chosen.

Consider double bagging or using thick clear vinyl for added security and durability. This will help prevent any leaks or spills during playtime.

Adding Fillers

Now it’s time to get creative with the sensory bag fillers! Depending on your child’s age and interests, you can include a variety of items such as:

  • beads
  • glitter
  • foam shapes
  • small toys that fit your chosen theme
  • Squishy materials like water beads
  • Hair gel, baby oil, or vegetable oil to make the bag squishy

Make sure the small items you choose don’t have any sharp edges that could puncture the bag. You can also use liquids, clear gel, or goo to create a squishy bag, with hair gel being the most popular choice for a super squishy texture. You can add food coloring to the liquid to enhance your chosen theme.

When adding fillers, keep in mind the age and developmental stage of your child, as well as their sensory preferences. Babies may enjoy soft fabric sensory bags with different textures, while older children might prefer more complex bags with small toys or objects to explore and manipulate. DIY sensory bags for teens and adults can include stress-relief bags with squishy balls, scented bags with lavender or essential oils, and tactile bags with slime or kinetic sand. Let your imagination run wild, and remember to have fun with it!

Halloween Sensory Bin Filler, Halloween Pasta, Halloween Sensory Toys, Toddler Halloween Toys, Boo Basket Filler, Halloween Sensory Kit

If you're looking for a fun, mess-free way to help your child develop cognitive and motor skills, sensory bags offer endless possibilities for exploration and learning. As an ...

Ocean Sensory Bin Filler, Scented Rice, Under The Sea Sensory Bin, Colored Rice, Dyed Rice, Sensory Bin Tools, Ocean Sensory...

If you're looking for a fun, mess-free way to help your child develop cognitive and motor skills, sensory bags offer endless possibilities for exploration and learning. As an ...

For more fillers and tiny toys, check out Dinky Doodads and Speech and Smile, a small business owned by a pediatric speech-language pathologist.

Sealing and Finishing

After filling your sensory bag with the selected materials, carefully eliminate any excess air from the bag and seal it securely. To minimize the risk of mess or for younger children, consider sealing the entire bag with duct tape on all sides, ensuring a strong and leak-proof seal. Double-check the bag for any weak spots where the fillers could escape, and if needed, re-seal them using duct tape.

Now you're ready to make your own sensory bags. Have fun and watch your child’s imagination and sensory skills grow!

More Sensory Bag Ideas

I hope you've enjoyed this list of my favorite sensory bags that I chose to feature. Whether you decide to make sensory bags or buy them ready to go, your little one (or not so little one) is sure to appreciate the joy found in a simple bag!

BIZYBOO - Hide ‘n’ Seek Busy Bag Characters - Hidden Object Search...
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AmishToyBox.com I Spy Bag - Travel Seek and Find Game - Hand-Crafted...
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-18% Party Animals - Children's Sensory Storybook with Touch and Feel Fidget Confetti...
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Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: June 13, 2024 9:14 PM

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Hey I'm Olivia and I'm a proud Autistic woman. My special interests are cats, stim toys, and electronic music! I love to write and help other Autistic adults find ways to enjoy life in this LOUD world!

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Dr. Wilson graduated from Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science and completed her residency in Internal Medicine at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, IL. Dr. Wilson specializes in providing culturally competent and trauma-informed care to patients with physical disabilities. In addition to her private practice, she works as a science communicator, teaching health literacy to middle school and high school students in her local school district. 

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