Our central nervous system is made up of 6 senses: touch, taste, smell, sight, sound and lastly another sense known as proprioception, or deep pressure, to the body
Does sensory ever disappear?
Sensory needs do not ever really “go away” we just learn how to adapt and use tools that are going to help to regulate what we need to complete everyday tasks. As adults, we learn strategies to fulfill our sensory needs.
Seeker: if someone were to give you a firm handshake, an individual without sensory processing challenges would receive 100% of that feedback. If you were to give a sensory seeking individual a handshake with the same amount of pressure, their sensory system might only process 50% of that feedback so they would look elsewhere to fulfill the 100% (crashing, jumping, crawling,etc.).
Avoider: Inversely, individual without sensory processing challenges might interpret a tag in their clothes at 100%, tuning it out. Whereas an avoider will interpret it at 200% and therefore, they cannot overcome the input from the tag touching their skin.
What is a sensory diet?
A sensory diet is a concept that Occupational Therapists recommend helping children fulfill their sensory needs often times throughout the day to decrease the severity of meltdowns. With the sensory processing challenges, receiving the sensory input throughout the day will decrease meltdowns.
- Starting the day with a vibrating toothbrush
- Animal crawls to the kitchen forbreakfast (bear crawls, crab walks,
- Setting the table for breakfast (wiping the table, pushing the chairs out)
- Clapping games while they are still trying to wake op
- Eating crunchy foods like apples or carrots
- Getting wrapped up tight in a blanket (burrito style)
- Vibration, hand held massagers
- Playground- swinging, monkey bars, climbing
- Sensory bins (dry beans, dry rice, pasta noodles, orbeez)
- Sensory bottles (oil, water, glitter)
- Blowing bubbles
- Blowing up a balloon
- Carrying groceries inside
- Tug a war
- Crashing and jumping into pillows
- Blowing pin wheels
- Shaving cream designs
- Helping make a meal (mixing, rolling, scooping)
- Reading their night time story on a vestibular surface (ball)
- Compressions prior to getting into bed to provide the body proprioceptive input
- Weighted blankets used to provide a sense of security while providing proprioceptive input
- Essential oils used to fulfill our olfactory sensory to calm or relax the body with smells
- Lotion massages, after bath using lotion to massage your child and begin to relax and wind down.
- White noise or nature sounds in the background of a bedtime routine.