Developing the senses of our children is a foundational aspect of their growth and development. While all children benefit from sensory activities, some children need a little more assistance in balancing, integrating, and regulating their sensory processing.
Ayres Sensory Integration® Therapy helps children with sensory-processing difficulties improve their ability to process sensory input. Sensory Integration Therapy makes sensory-rich day to day environments less overwhelming and increases a child’s threshold for tolerating these environments.
When we talk about sensory integration therapy experiences here at OTFC Group, we’re referring to experiences relating to the sense of touch, movement, body awareness, sight, sound, smell, taste and the pull of gravity.
The process of the brain organising and interpreting this information is called Sensory Integration. Sensory Integration provides a crucial foundation for later, more complex learning and behaviour.
Learn to support your child’s sensory systems to work together as best they can!
As the weather gets cooler, we know spending more time indoors can be daunting for parents with active children. Here are 6 ways you can integrate fun activities at home while developing their sensory regulation and processing at the same time:
- Pillow mountain crash
Create a large open space on your floor. Move any furniture that may get in the way, then put all the couch cushions, pillows, old mattresses and throw blankets into a large pile in your open space. Your child will know what to do from here!
- Build a fort
Let your child take the lead as the engineer and builder here! All you need is some blankets and chairs to drape them over. Set up some pillows on the inside to sit on as well as some books and a flashlight to make it a little extra fun on the inside too.
- Create an obstacle course
Any space inside your home is perfect for this, with your hallway probably being the best. Great items to include that you have around the house are things like a small stool to hop over, jumping on pillows or steppingstones, lay a rope on the ground to walk on or jump over or even skateboard or scooterboard on their belly.
- Make a sensory box
Get a plastic tub or line a show box with a plastic bag and fill it with dried rice or beans. Then add a few scoops of hot chocolate to get the scent. Add in some spoons, funnels and scoops or a tea set if you have one and encourage your child to “get tactile”.
All children benefit from sensory activities
- Play a game hide and seek
Not only is this fun for both adults and children, it’s helpful for children that need to work on following directions, problem-solving and visual scanning. Hide and seek means your children will probably try and hide in cosy small spaces giving them lots of tactile and proprioceptive sensory input.
- Create a sticky maze
Get strips of masking tape that won’t damage the walls, and tape from one side of the door frame to the other in your hallway. Repeat this a few times at different heights and angles. This creates a maze that your child may weave their body through from one side to the other.
“Look at what the behaviour is trying to tell you, rather than looking at the behaviour as being negative or ‘bad’”
For most children, sensory integration develops throughout the course of ordinary childhood activities. Motor planning – planning and performing steps to make a movement happen, is a natural outcome of this process, as is the ability to learn from incoming sensations. But, for some children, sensory integration does not develop as efficiently and seamless as it should.
For more information on how sensory integration can work for your child, we’d love you to contact us and have a look around our website here at OTFC.
OTFC Group – We’re Influencing Lives. Creating Possibilities. Making a Difference
OTFC is a South Australian clinic-based service that is centrally located and services children and adolescents from birth through to 21 years of age both locally and nationally. Dedicated to providing a client focused approach where children and families feel validated in their concerns, supported in difficult times, encouraged to be proactive and inspired to facilitate change.