Sensory processing with children
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: CHILD THERAPY NI- Derry
2nd December, 20160 Comments
Therapeutic interventions for sensory processing integration in children.
The therapeutic intervention for sensory processing intervention is very important. Among other things, it improves:
intellectual, social, and emotional development
the development of a positive self-esteem
mind and body which is ready for learning
positive interactions in the world around him
the achievement of normal developmental milestones
What is sensory integration therapy?
The idea behind SI (sensory integration) therapy is that specific movement activity, resistive body work, and even brushing of the skin can help a child with sensory problems experience an optimal level of arousal and regulation.
What activities can we use to improve this sensory processing disorder? The possibilities are endless, and being creative and open-minded is essential when you are working with a sensory processing disorder.
Some examples could be the following:
Play-doh!, funny foam…etc
Children need to touch a variety of textures and play with them to develop normal tactile processing. If our child refuses to play with messy items, it is important that we find new and creative ways to introduce this textures. We could use the foam to make delicious kitchen recipes, for telling a story, etc.
Heavy work activities
These types of activities are important for children who have difficulty regulating their arousal levels. We recognise these type of children because they never stay still. The premise behind these activities is to help their bodies receive regular input into their muscles and joints in the most appropriate ways, so they can get the input they crave and settle their bodies down. Often these activities will include using weights, weighted products, jumping, bouncing, rocking, pushing, pulling, swinging and being “squished”.
Sand therapy and water play
Playing in the sand or water provides essential yet fun ways to experience necessary tactile input. You can also use rice, shaving cream and even toys to add a little extra fun, creativity is always welcomed!
This type of therapy is rally good, not just for kids with sensory processing disorder but also for all types of kids. This is a good way to train a child who is very hypersensitive about smells. Through this therapy, you can help your child tolerate or drown out smells, and of course, use them to relax and calm.
Hint: For children who are highly sensitive to smells, have them carry a bottle of aromatherapy oil in their pocket to smell when intolerance hits.
Oral motor toys/games
These are children who have difficulties with speech, or even with eating. Some of the toys we can use to improve the oral motor muscles are the following:
- weird and different foods
- chewing gum
- sweet and sour candies
- blow toys
This is a very typical problem with kids who have sensory processing disorder, and obviously, it is first seen at school. Fine motor coordination becomes difficult.
Some fine motor co-ordinations activities would be the following:
- using pencil grips or weighted pens, etc…
As we can see, the possibilities are endless if we have the enough creativity to come with new activities. Nevertheless, there are a lot of resources out there such as books, to help parents and professionals to make a good therapeutic intervention
To finish this article, I would like to talk about the possibility of including sensory input into daily activities and how parents can use the day to day routine to improve their child sensory processing disorder.
- Bath time: Scrub with a bath brush, try a variety of soaps and foams, play with shaving cream, etc.
- Meal preparation or baking: Let the child mix ingredients, carry pots and pans, carry water, etc.
- Mealtime: Encourage the eating of chewing foods and drinking out of a straw.
- Household chores: Allow the child helping with the vacuum or clean the bathroom or living room. Also, let the child help with the gardening, or even digging.
About the author
Written by Cristina Rey Lopez. Clinical and educational psychologist at Child Therapy NI.
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