Craving bear hugs, to feel the need to be touched and to touch, rocking forward and back on fours, uncontrollable screams, meltdowns, pulling and teeth clenching. These are the many faces of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)
Sensory Processing Disorder is a condition in which the brain has trouble receiving and responding to information that comes through its senses. This in turn brings a great challenge in following daily routines and doing certain tasks.
Children with SPD are often misunderstood because of sensory differences that cause extreme emotion and the lack thereof. Taste, smell, sound, or even a single touch cause them to throw a fit. Kids with sensory disorders could also exhibit unresponsiveness to pain or even cold, which is why sensory play activities could greatly benefit children experiencing sensory issues because sensory play improves coordination of a child’s senses and also improves social and motor skills.
Sensory Processing Disorder up close
Every child is gifted with a brain that is exceptionally different from one another. While it is said that every child is different, it is important to learn whether your child has sensory processing challenges and what activities would help in addressing those challenges. Sensory Processing Disorder can be broken down into several categories
1. Sensory Modulation Disorder
Seeking little to no stimulation. They avoid touching or being touched. They get agitated by sudden or unexpected movement.
Craving for persistent stimulation. They are always on the move, they adore fast movement and they literally get their hands on anything. They favor being squeezed, pressed, and touched. A child may also show very unusual ways of responding to what they see, hear, and even touch.
2. Sensory Based Motor Problems
Postural Disorder A child with Postural Disorder has low energy. They are weak and have decreased body awareness and have trouble balancing altogether. They find it hard to use both sides of their body and coordinating their body parts proves to be a highly daunting task.
Motor Planning Problems/Dyspraxia
People with Dyspraxia have challenges in performing a motor task. They find it hard to plan and decide what they want to do or where to go. You could also find them frazzled, clumsy, and also more likely to get into accidents. Active play is not something they like, and would most likely be found doing stationary activities.
Here are typical behaviors that reflect sensory processing issues:
- Often have poor balance
- They don’t like unexpected movements and light
- Bumping and crashing into people and hard objects
- Have a high threshold for pain or oversensitivity to it
- Cannot stay still and would always be spinning or jumping
Not being able to process information from all the senses is the common factor of all these categories, and that is where sensory play would greatly help. Designed as a creative and fun way to get the child to engage all his senses.It trains them how to handle sensory input.
Unlocking the Power of Sensory Play
It’s no mystery what the power of play can do to a child. Sensory play allows a child to exercise his imagination, learn and be aware of anything and everything around them.
Children that have sensory processing disorders have a hard time understanding their emotions and find it hard to do physical activities. This is where sensory play comes in.
Sensory play is designed to promote calmness and boost the responsiveness of a child with SPD. Allowing the child to feel that it is okay to explore around.
Opportunities to learn and also be aware of their senses are presented through sensory play. Stimulating their senses, encourages and trains them to investigate, feel and engage, which is why sensory toys, such as wooden blocks greatly help in getting children engaged in playing. These types of toys not only entertain but also great sensory integration exercises.
Baby sensory toys are a big help in calming children with sensory disorders. Children with SPD are oftentimes in discomfort or stressful situations. These sensory toys aid in toning down outbursts and relieve a child’s meltdown. Explore our Calm MInd Set, to help your child play and learn to their heart’s content
(Same as above) Toys such as the Fort Building Kit are built to enhance skills in planning and exploring as they enjoy.
It’s amazing what wooden blocks and other sensory toys can do for a child. Playing for children facing such issues would require them to have sensory toys, safe for chewing and even mouthing. It is important to find toys that are made entirely of safe materials. The wooden set is a perfect sensory toy if you’re looking for something toxic-free and fun for little learning tykes.
Constant nurturing and freedom to wonder, wander, learn, thrive, and build are things that could greatly help in overcoming their problem.
Sensory Play Activities to Try
Sensory play is big on firing up a child’s senses. Not only does it help those that are diagnosed with sensory disorders it is also beneficial for all children.
There are a lot of sensory play activities out there. Each designed with fun and learning in mind. Try and test what works and what doesn’t. Harness the many advantages of sensory play, you may also add in baby sensory toys, such as wooden blocks for that extra fun experience.
Playing with Textured Aromatherapy Playdough
Playing with playdough has a lot of benefits and is an excellent sensory play activity because it is a good stress reliever and a good way to exercise a child’s sense of touch. You may also add in essential oils and different tactile ingredients like grains and salt for added sensory dimension.
Like playing with dough, slime playing is also a category of sensory play. Tactile playing engages the senses and helps in teaching a child how to use them.
Rainbow Water Water
Children are great explorers. They love to know how the world works and experience things through their senses. They enjoy sensory play activities. Water play encourages a child to engage in words while wooden blocks develop motor skills and improve hand-eye coordination.
Through playing with these activities, teachers and parents can boost the emotional, intellectual and social development of youngsters and help them improve self-esteem by assisting them with sensory integration exercises and engaging with sensory play.
We hope you find these activities helpful. What is your go-to sensory activity that your little one?