- 2 mins
Autism Acceptance Week: What is Sensory Sensitivity?
You might be surprised how much you can do with very little at home. Have you ever felt disappointed when your child gravitates toward the simple $1 toy and ignores the special, pricier educational toy? Are there ways to fulfill our child’s needs for sensory stimulation with what we have? Definitely! Let’s have a look at how.
The first step is to observe what your child likes, craves, and requires from a sensory point of view. Look at their body movements and what they do with their hands, arms, legs, and even toes. If they seem like they are giving themselves hugs or deep pressure, they are seeking sensory input. If they are trying to escape textures or tickles, they are avoiding sensory input. Once you have a general idea if your child is seeking or avoiding sensory input, you can test out some sensory input. This will give you an idea if your child is seeking or avoiding deep or light sensory input.
If your child craves more substantial sensory input, you can include the following for them:
If your child enjoys lighter touch, you can always include some of these activities:
Even if your child tends to avoid sensory input, it could be good for them to have a “sensory tent” or “sensory corner.” You can create a tent with a sheet or blanket draped over two chairs or a table Ask them what they would like in their special sensory tent and what they feel would be calming. Items should be safe to use independently, such as pillows, soft toys, stress balls, squishy items, etc. When the tent is set up, you can suggest that they go there whenever they feel a bit overwhelmed.
Sensory play can also include fruits and vegetables. Many children are sensory sensitive to textures and play with food, and creating structures or characters with fruits and vegetables could decrease this sensitivity. According to Coulthard (2017), if a child is exposed to play with fruits and vegetables, they are more likely to taste these in various settings.
It is a win-win-win situation—you are playing with your child, they are receiving attention and sensory input, and they may eat more fruits and vegetables!
Coulthard, H., & Sealy, A. (2017). Play with your food! Sensory play is associated with tasting fruits and vegetables in preschool children. Appetite, 113, 84–90. doi 10.1016/j.appet.2017.02.003