Understanding the Sensory Diet

Kids with sensory processing difficulties have more intense needs. Without exposure to the right inputs, they can have issues demonstrating proper behavior. Various approaches are now being used to resolve the problem, and sensory diets are common. Such programs involve exercises and activities to help kids stay alert, calm, organized, and in control.

What activities does a sensory diet involve?

sensory diet is a personalized treatment plan comprising various activities, products, and toys. It’s useful for kids with sensory procession dysfunction and uses different methods to calm down kids, helping them behave better. The most common activities in sensory diets are;

  • Cycling
  • Rough tumble play
  • Swings
  • Crab walking
  • Frog jumps
  • Wheelbarrow walking
  • Moving with a heavy backpack
  • Playing with heavy items

How can I choose the right sensory activities and toys for my child?

There are various sensory activities for kids. Whether in school or at home, consider the environment where your child is exercising. Does it echo? Can your child smell the chlorine from the swimming pool? These sensory inputs can act as triggers for some children, and you may need to modify the play environment to help your child tolerate the activity and environment more easily.

Each child’s sensory needs are different; understand your child and chose what matches their needs. Also, use a sensory card to allow your child to pick the activities that suit them best. These cards allow kids to explore various textures and also enable them to control his or her sensory diet activities.

Why have regular sensory activities?

Encouraging regular sensory activities is the best decision that you can make for your child. Our brains make changes through repetition, and repeated sensory activity makes it easier for your child to respond appropriately to situations. What’s more? It encourages smooth sensory processing. If you’re not at home, this shouldn’t be an issue! You can implement sensory activities in any place, including schools, shopping malls, parks, and more.

What about the toys? Think of the activities that your child seeks or avoids. Also, consider the main sensory system: vestibular, tactile, vision, smell, hearing, or proprioception. The systems are intertwined and tend to work together. Choose the ones that you feel need the most attention. Finally, think of the time and the play environment then choose toys in the right sizes.

What can I use to encourage sensory play?

Sensory play arouses your child’s sense of smell, touch, taste, sight, and hearing. Such activities help kids to grow and develop their cognitive processes. Your choices are limitless when it comes to the type of items to use during sensory play.

Encourage regular play through; sensory bins, messy activities, sensory products, sensory toys in the garden, indoors, or any other part of the home. Moreover, use different sensory materials like sand, play dough, shaving cream, and putty. Add color and variations to the materials to make the activities more fun.

A quick wrap up

If you have a child with a sensory processing disorder, don’t shy away from seeking help. There are various activities that you can implement to help your child respond better. So, talk to an occupational therapist, and the specialist will design the most suitable sensory activity plan for your child.

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