“Sensory integration occurs automatically in most people, so we tend to take it for granted, just as we take our heartbeat and digestion for granted.” - Dr. A. Jean Ayres
This quote is so true. You may be reading this blog with many discrete distractions surrounding you, i.e. a clock ticking, cars driving by, even a family member simply walking by. We take our ability to handle these situations for granted. Many of our students here at Latham lack a natural sensory diet. Mary Lee Chamberlain, Latham’s OT consultant, came to our school with a vision to enhance our student’s sensory diet. Mary Lee collaborated with our vocational team and it was determined that our students would start a woodworking project. The project will allow our students to combine their senses in a natural, meaningful way. From sanding the woodwork, maneuvering the furniture as they work, to painting the final project, students will increase their attention, arousal level, and body awareness while creating beautiful pieces of furniture. Of course this is easy to perform here at school because we have access to our vocational room. Here are a few things that you can do to enhance your child’s sensory diet while at home:
Finger paint: Your child can demonstrate an increased awareness of the finger movements which can assist with buttoning, tying, and other everyday activities.
Sand play: Use aluminum foil and sand from the beach to create scenes from a favorite book or movie.
Pillow Making: Find an old pillow case and have your child rip up fabric to stuff in their personal pillow.
Rolling Games: Use a small scooter to roll down or roll up small hills.
Yoga Balls: Try to balance for an extended period of time.