Sensory Diet Activities For Children With Sensory Processing Disorder

If the child is verbal, ask him what is making him reluctant to engage in the activity. It may be that his system needs to be perked up with energizing music or a little super sour candy because he is in a state of low arousal. Or, it may be that he is feeling hypersensitive and uncomfortable in his body, and needs some calming, focusing activities before engaging in something more active and stimulating.

Planning for the activity, giving concrete information and details about what is involved and the sequence of activities, and working with the coach or teacher to accommodate your child’s reluctance can all make it easier for your child with sensory processing issues to push himself to get the sensory input his system needs. Whenever possible, work with a sensory smart OT who can observe your child, analyze what is holding him back, and help you to strategize ways to get him moving. You might be surprised at how much your OT is able to get your child to do in the low-pressure, inviting environment of a sensory gym where he is free from the eyes of curious onlookers and is receiving support for working through his anxiety as he tries new activities. Once past his initial fear of, say, a swing, he may be willing to try it out in a different environment, such as on the playground.

Every child’s sensory needs are different. The more you and your OT know about your child and ways to accommodate his needs with clever strategies, activities, and toys and equipment that make movement fun, the easier it will be to meet his sensory needs. Over time, these activities will increase his comfort in his body and environment. Develop sensory smarts and you can help your child to do so as well.

The information contained in this article is provided as a public service. It is for informational and educational purposes only. This information should not be construed as personal medical advice. Because each person’s health needs are different, a health care professional should be consulted before acting on any information provided in these materials. Although every effort is made to ensure that this material is accurate and up-to-date, it is provided for the convenience of the user and should not be considered definitive.

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