Fine Motor Milestones For 5 And 1 2 Year Olds Parenting Tips On Sensory Diet For Sensory Integration Disorder

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Parenting Tips On Sensory Diet For Sensory Integration Disorder

Does your child with autism become sensitive to sounds, smells and is a picky eater? Does your child with another disability become hyperactive when asked to sit for long periods of time? These are all signs of sensory integration disorder (SID). This article will discuss the sensory diet used for children with SID.

Sensory Integration Disorder is the brain’s inability to properly process information brought in by the senses. SID can show itself in many different ways. A child with SID may be over or under sensitive to sounds, smells, may be a picky eater (doesn’t like the way certain foods feel in their mouth), may not like the way certain clothes feel on their skin. Many children with autism and learning disabilities have sensory integration problems.

Children with SID may also have motor skills such as; difficulty with fine and gross motor skills, difficulty imitating movements, or have trouble with balance.

Therapy is usually arranged by an occupational therapist, with experience in treating children with sensory integration disorder. A sensory diet can also be put together, specifically for your child. The diet can be used at home as well as at school.

A sensory diet means that you include sensory activities in your child’s day; at home and at school. Every child’s sensory diet is different, depending on your child’s specific SI needs. Ask your child’s occupational therapist to help you set up a sensory diet to meet your child’s unique needs.

For example: If your child becomes hyperactive on a regular basis, or maybe tends to hit or pinch, or be silly, or laughs for no reason, a sensory diet can help. Giving your child sensory activities on a frequent, regular basis will help him stay focused and in control more often.

A sample sensory diet is listed below:

At critical points during your child’s day:

1. Swinging in a special swing or on a playground

2. Hunt games like tag or races

3. Jumping jacks, stretching, sit-ups, balance beam

4. Trampoline, tire swing, exercise ball

5. Squeezables like nerf balls, silly putty, etc.

Every half hour if possible; include the above:

6. Play of scents

7. Rubbing/or brushing with a specific type of brush (Ask an occupational therapist about the type of brush to use, and how to do this technique), not to include the stomach.

8. Jump rope

Calming activities you can use at home:

a. Morning: Bath, brushing, deep pressure.

b. After school: Children’s choice (cycling, running, skating).

c. Evening: Dinner, bath, deep pressure.

Using a sensory diet in a child who has SID can lead to a dramatic improvement in their behavior and ability to concentrate. The items listed are easy to do at home and school. You may have to advocate for sensory breaks for your child, but remind special education of how much it could benefit your child.

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