My child has sensory issues but I cannot get to his/her therapist?
If your therapist was not able to get you home supplies to help with a home sensory diet, then give some of these ideas a try! (Although we still recommend consulting with your therapist via phone.)
Sensory input during daily activities
Have your child experience different temperatures in the bathtub (not too hot to cause a burn though) and add ice cubes for extra sensory input. Also look at using introducing some different lotions and powders that may have some textures to it (thicker or with little exfoliators added to them). You can use different washcloths or socks to bathe with to complete a brushing/rub program to help desensitize the child’s body.
Taking into consideration any aspiration/choking risks for your child or dietary restrictions, try to make the foods chewy or crunchy. Introduce a straw to try and eat thinned or slightly thickened foods through it. If your child is fidgeting at the table, try different seat cushions you have in the house or maybe try a different table where they can stand and eat. If you have a weighted blanket or small ankle weights, try to place these on your child’s lap to help give deep pressure which is a calming effect. Prior to eating try some heavy push pulling activities or joint compression to calm the body. We recommend avoiding over stimulation activities such as running and swinging directly before mealtime.
If your child needs to increase their tone, then look at how you can (if they are not too heavy) swing them in your arms, push/help them on a toy such as a bike, use a trampoline, or just have them jump in place like a bunny. All these can help the child to increase their inner ear and other sensory systems.
- Use a baby buggy to push/pull with a little extra weight that is safe for the device and child
- Play in the sandbox or explore the flower beds of the yard (dirt and mulch) which can offer different textures and temperatures
- Make a sensory path in the hallway where your child will have a path to walk along and have to go from jumping activities to pushing their hands on the walls, or stopping their feet or walking a line with hands in air etc. (see pictures below for examples)
- Play horse, and give a piggy back ride if your back and body can handle it
(Photo from: https://jewishweek.timesofisrael.com/how-jewish-educators-can-create-sensory-paths/)
Other things to consider for children with sensory needs when stuck at home
- Keep routines and possessions organized.
- Be consistent with rules and consequences.
- Keep an activity schedule or calendar posted.
- Create specific routines for troublesome times of day (bedtime or getting ready for school).
- Discuss upcoming anticipated changes in routine at a point in time that is beneficial for your child. You will have to experiment with how early the child “needs to know.”
- Try to indirectly use your child’s sensory preferences for fun rewards to help you handle behavior. For example, having your child work towards an extra special snack or story time may be helpful. However, try not to restrict movement activities when your child is being disciplined.
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