Sensory activities are used to help individuals regulate their nervous system so that they can participate in daily functioning, intellectual, social, and emotional development, the development of a positive self-esteem, positive interactions in the world around them, and achievement of normal developmental milestones. There are vestibular activities and proprioceptive activities to help with self-regulation
The vestibular system detects movement and gravitational pull, and it provides information regarding the position of our head in space and acceleration and deceleration of movement. Symptoms of vestibular processing issues are over-arousal or under-arousal, excessive movement, avoiding movement at all costs, difficulty maintaining attention, motion sickness, dizziness or nausea caused by watching things move, and excessive spinning or excessive watching of things spinning. Activities that affect the vestibular system are swinging, using rocking toys, scooter boards, and trampolines.
Proprioception is the sensory input one receives from the movement of muscles. The brain receives information regarding the position of the body when one bends, straightens, pulls, pushes, or even stands still. Symptoms of proprioceptive processing issues are sensory seeking behaviors and difficulty with grading movements. Activities that affect proprioceptive processing are any activity that provides input to the muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons and connective tissue as they relate to motor control and planning, body awareness, grading of movement, knowing how "hard" or "soft" to perform a task, and postural stability.
Sensory Developmental Activities:
- Use cool, sensory-loaded toys, like Play Doh, "Gak," "Glop," and Funny Foam
- Engage in "heavy work" activities: weights, weighted products, jumping, bouncing, rocking, pushing, pulling, swinging and being "squished"
- Get your amazing kid on a sensory diet! Here's a resource: Great Information on Sensory Diets [SLIDESHARE]
- Consider the use of other sensory toys/equipment, like play gyms with sound and lights, tons of tactile toys; play mats; vibrating toys; textured puzzles; balls to sit on, play with or touch; fun balance boards and games; slimy, squishy toys; toys to sit on, spin on, ride on, climb on, twirl
Here are some articles that you may also find helpful:
- Awesome Sensory Toys and Gym Equipment
- Does My Child Have Problems With Sensory Processing?
- 10 Books for Families With A Child On the Autism Spectrum
- Strategies For Kids With Sensory Issues [SLIDESHARE]
Yet Another Great Resource:
Wondering if your child may have possibly have a sensory challenge? We've complied a brief checklist to help:
Now it's time to wrap up but stay tuned for more great info coming your way!!Until next time . . .