Sensory strategies that are motivating can be a big help for some kids. Try these train themed sensory activity ideas.
Sensory Diets for Sensory Processing Needs
sensory needs. The term “sensory diet” was
coined by Patricia Wilbarger in 1984 to explain how certain sensory experiences
can improve occupational performance and help to remediate disruption of the
sensory processing systems. A sensory
diet is a means to adjust sensory input in relation to an individual’s
set of strategies for developing sensory programs that are meaningful, practical, carefully
scheduled, and controlled in order to affect functioning.
sensory input based on the needs of an individual. Just as a healthy diet consists of a variety
of foods, a sensory diet is a balanced set of sensory information that allows
an individual to function. A person
cannot survive on broccoli alone.
Similarly, a child cannot function with only one type of sensory
issues. We all need a diet of sensory
input. Our bodies and minds
instinctively know that varying sensory input allows us to function
appropriately. Neuro-typical children
naturally seek out a variety of proprioceptive, vestibular, and tactile sensory
input. As a result, they are able to
accept and regulate other sensory input such as a seam in their shirt, a
lawnmower running outside their classroom, or the scent of chicken cooking in the
multi-sensory activities for at least 90 minutes per week to improve
occupational performance and autism symptoms and behaviors (Fazlioglu &
Baran, 2008; Thompson, 2011; Woo & Leon, 2013; Wuang, Wang, Huang, & Su
sensory activities available to them for daily use may benefit from prescribed
sensory activities. These activities can be a part of and incorporated into the day in a natural way.
Related Read: Here are more sensory-based tricks and tips that help with meltdowns.
What is a
for an individual’s needs. Specific and
individualized activities that are specifically scheduled into a child’s day
are used to assist with regulation of activity levels, attention, and adaptive
prescribed based on the individual’s specific sensory needs. Just
as there are no two people that are alike, there are no two sensory diets that
the specific needs whether in activity, position, intensity, time, sensory system,
or type. Additionally, a sensory diet
can be modified throughout the day and based on variances in tasks.
to be specific with thoughtful regard to timing, frequency, intensity, and
duration of sensory input.
Goals of a sensory diet are to:
- Provide the child with predictable sensory information
which helps organize the central nervous system.
- Support social engagement,
self-regulation, behavior organization, perceived competence, self-esteem, and
- Inhibit and/or improve modulation
of sensation within daily routines and environments.
- Assist the child in processing a more organized response
to sensory stimuli.
Add these resources to the ones you can find here under sensory diet vestibular activities to meet the sensory needs of all kids.
with autism. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 106, 415–422. http://dx.doi.org/10.2466/PMS.106.2.415-422