Sensory Processing Disorder
Tips & Resources from Cooke Preschool Faculty
From the blog post: Cooke Preschool Faculty Address Sensory Processing Disorder, May 2012
We’ve made tremendous gains in understanding, acknowledging and developing everyday strategies to address the individual sensory needs of our children – let’s put them to use. For instance:
- When children can’t keep their hands to themselves standing on line or are constantly jumping on furniture while visiting a friend, it doesn’t necessarily mean the child is looking for attention. Understanding sensory dysfunction will help parents and other professionals acknowledge that these issues are real.
- Babies and toddlers need to explore their environments physically. The overuse of equipment can prevent children from using their bodies. Crawling, cruising, and walking on a variety of surfaces helps integrate communication between the two sides of the brain and the body. Achieving developmental milestones helps children develop visual skills, depth perception, improve muscle tone and coordination.
- Encouraging low-tone children to do activities on their hands and knees, like putting puzzle pieces together on the floor or crawling through tunnels, can help develop missing skills.
- Pushing growing young children in strollers from place to place to arrive quickly deprives them of opportunities to receive and interpret important sensory information. They need to walk, march, run and even fall to be able to integrate external information successfully .
- Try to not over-schedule children, and maintain regular routines for bedtime, bathing and dressing.
- Avoid too much clutter and visual stimulation at home. Housework offers a terrific opportunity for proprioceptive input - sweeping, mopping, wiping tables. Get those active kids to work - lifting those heavy groceries bags and putting the goods away, or carrying and/or pushing laundry baskets are all examples of great heavy work.
- Limit time with iPads, iPods, computers and video games. Encourage more interactive activities and less passive non-reciprocal games. Unrealistic expectations for children in terms of too many extra-curricular activities and social engagements can further challenge children’s ability to process sensory information and can lead to acting out.
- If children have difficulties making the transition into parties or other social occasion, try methods such as using social stories, doing some “heavy work” before the event, or listening to calming music on the way there. Once you arrive, some unobtrusive earplugs or chewing gum can help minimize feelings of sensory overload in the child (which can lead to sometimes irreversible “meltdowns”).
Please share the list of extraordinary resources below with parents and your professional teams, loved ones, teachers and doctors, as they offer practical ideas to make homes and classrooms sensory smart. Most importantly, work with your own children to help them understand their own sensory needs as a way to promote their independence. And above all, when assessing a child’s needs, remember to pay attention to what the child is doing and not solely what he is not doing.
||Sensational kids – Hope and Help for Children with Sensory Processing Disorder by Lucy Jane Miller, Ph.D., OTR
||Parenting a Child with Sensory Processing Disorder – A Family Guide to Understanding and Supporting Your Sensory Sensitive Child by Christopher Auer, MA, Susan Blumberg, Ph.D. and Lucy Jane Miller, Ph.D. OTR
||Raising A Sensory Smart Child: The Definitive Handbook for Helping Your Child with Sensory Processing Issues by Lindsay Biel
||Arnie and His School Tools: Simple Sensory Solutions That Build Success by Jennifer Veenendall