Occupational therapists across the nation are facing the challenges of serving students with sensory needs at home. The Coronavirus pandemic has completely uprooted students with special needs from their day-to-day routines.
In some states, occupational therapists’ offices are closed.
Other states have a limited schedule.
What is a parent to do?
It is crucial to create an at-home sensory space and sensory tools that resemble the support they lack. Meeting a child’s sensory needs at home will help prevent meltdowns and provide them an opportunity to take a much-needed break.
Here are a few ideas that can help you provide sensory space at home.
How to Meet a Child’s Sensory Needs at Home
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First of all, it is essential to dedicate a space at home. It is also important to remember that the sensory space does not have to be large. The space can be simple and small but designed to meet your child’s individual needs.
When picking a place in your home that will be providing sensory needs, it is vital to be aware of the surroundings.
The following list is very distracting to children with sensory processing disorders.
- Drawings on walls
You should make the space theirs.
A perfect example of a sensory space can be a personal tent made out of blankets that only the child can be in. He can fill the tent with rugs and pillows to provide an extra added comfort.
If your child has fluctuating moods, give them a bean bag chair that they can move around to wherever works for them at that moment.
Next, once you have a space at home, there are plenty of DIY sensory tools that can be made and used in the designated area.
Sensory tools are an essential part of meeting a child’s sensory needs as well as helping them to calm down and regain focus. The cool thing about these DIY sensory tools is that it does not require parents or families to spend a lot of money.
All you need to make sensory tools are simple household items. One of those tools is a sensory bin.
Sensory bins stimulate one of the five senses and offer a relaxing low demand activity.
You can take a bin and fill it with things like:
- Cotton balls
- Shredded paper
- Moon sand
- Packing peanuts
- Water beads
- Aquarium rocks
Then you can provide items to explore with such as:
- Measuring cups
- Magnifying glass
- Cookie cutters
For extra stimulation, you can color the items in the bin with food coloring to stimulate the visual sense.
Another great sensory tool is a sensory bottle. You can make a sensory bottle by filling any clean bottle or small container with items. Some types of bottles could be:
- Water bottle
- Plastic spice container
- Peanut butter plastic jar
- Craft bottle
- Shampoo/body wash container
A see-through container is best. Seeing the movement of items in the bottle is visually soothing.
Things you may want to put inside the bottle are:
- Small rocks
Anything that can make various noises will heighten the sense of hearing. A sensory bottle is an excellent resource to use to provide stimulation for children to focus on the items while calming down.
Other Items to Use for Sensory Needs at Home
- Shaving Cream
- Finger painting
These items are stand-alone sensory tools. They will provide a relaxing stimulus for kids with sensory processing disorders.
Combine a safe space filled with sensory tools to meet your child’s sensory needs at home. You will see that these areas help to de-escalate situations in which a child with a processing disorder needs an outlet. Your child can still thrive with the new environment staying at home.
Additional Sensory Needs Resources
There are other types of therapies that will also help with sensory processing disorders. Here are a few I’ve touched on our site.
- Art Therapy For Children With Special Needs
- Music Therapy For Children With Special Needs
- 9 Benefits Of Flexible Seating In Education
- 4 Special Education Therapy Options
What sensory tools and resources have you found that your child loves?
Do you have a child that needs more one on one assistance?
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As a kid who grew up with ADHD, I can really appreciate this information, and how sensitive a child can be to that which is around him. Thanks so much for putting this together, as well as the info on your site!