Sensory Processing – Part 3 – More Tips for Regulation

Our bodies are constantly receiving sensory information.   Sensory information is received through vision, hearing, touch, taste and smell.  Lesser acknowledged stimuli include movement (the vestibular system) and position (proprioception).    Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is a dysfunction in the way that the nervous system interprets this sensory information.  Formal therapy for SPD is called Sensory Integration Therapy and it is usually done by occupational therapists with a certification in the area of SPD.

Whether or not your child has an official SPD diagnosis or is receiving therapy, there are lots of things that you can do at home to help your child regulate and organize their sensory systems.  Most if not all of these strategies are good practice for any child.

Regulation = focus = behavior that is acceptable.

In part one of this series, I shared tips for structured settings such as school, church or the community through input via movement, fine motor, oral input and proprioception (heavy work and deep pressure).  https://0newordatatime.wordpress.com/2015/07/29/sensory-processing-helpful-tips-part-1/  ALL of those ideas can be used at home as well.  Today I’ll share a few more things that are geared more towards supporting the sensory systems of vision, hearing, touch, taste and smell.  Remember, activities can be alerting or calming or both.   Using sensory strategies is often trial and error.  The goal is to determine what will meet your child’s needs at the given moment.  Having a “tool box” of ideas from which to pull from is the key to success.

Vision

  • Watching things fall – rain sticks, tabletop fountains, bubble timers or a sensory bin filled with beans , sand, rice or similar substance
  • Watching things spin – tops, tablet apps (Modus, Cosmic Tops for example), gear toys, see ‘n’ say

cosmic tops                                                          rainstick

Hearing

  • Soothing sounds – environmental sounds such as the ocean, light rain or crickets
  • Music – “Calming Rhythms” (stronginstitute.com), Mozart, Gregorian chants, rhythmic drumming
  • A metronome as background noise (or use a metronome app on your tablet)
  • metronome                     calming rhythms

 

Touch

  • seamless underwear and socks smartknitkids.com
  • vibrating hairbrush amazon.com
  • electric toothbrush
  • texture box filled with fabrics and materials of varied textures

Taste

  • strong flavors
  • spicy – salsa, hot sauce,
  • sour – War Heads, Sour Patch Kids
  • salty – chips, popcorn, pretzels, salted nuts
  • peppermint
  • gingersnaps
  •            warheads-candy-bag-127337                    sour patch           download

Smell

**The sense of smell might be the most powerful.  Smell input goes directly to the limbic system.  Haven’t you ever smelled something that vividly triggered a memory and took you right back to the place where you had experienced that smell before?

  • scented candles, soap or lotion
  • scent inhalers vitacost.com
  • scented stickers, pencils, markers
  • NOXO Odor Defense Pro noxoinfo.com  – masks noxious smells

scent                    odor-defense1

 

 

So, give some of these things a try and let me know how it goes.  Anybody have any more great tips?  I’d love to add them to my toolbox.

 

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