24 Apr Create Your Own Sensory Area
Recently during a workshop, the audience was asked to raise their hand if their child with autism did not have sensory issues. Not one person raised their hand.
If your child has sensory challenges, has difficulty getting motivated and staying on task, or needs constant sensory input to calm down, try creating a Sensory Area in your home. You don’t need to have a lot of space to create a Sensory Area. You can establish a corner of your home, the Sensory Nook. Or, you can just set up a few containers filled with sensory activities.
Caution: Always supervise your child in a Sensory Area. You should always seek the guidance and advice of an Occupational Therapist.
Benefits of a Sensory Area:
- Helps the child develop greater sensory awareness
- Promotes self-regulation. It can energize your child or calm him down.
- Encourages learning and appropriate behavior. By allowing your child to release energy in a designated space, he will be more likely to stay seated for work-time or meals.
- Provides a safe, comfortable space where your child can explore a variety of sensory input
- Helps your child learn how to control any inappropriate tendencies in a safe environment
- Promotes independence
- Encourages communication
- Increases on-task behavior
A Sensory Area can include:
- An area to release energy by jumping or bouncing
- A yoga ball, air mattress, and trampoline
- A tunnel to transition
- A calming, quiet area
- Bean bags, a tent, and/or a sleeping bag
- A sensory container with different fabrics, such as satin, sandpaper, cotton, flannel, etc.
- A sensory container filled with rice, sand, or beans
Create your Sensory Area in an easily accessible and convenient place in your home. Place a photograph or symbol of the Sensory Area in your child’s daily schedule, and encourage him to use the area before in-seat or stressful activities (i.e. homework, before people come over, mealtimes).
The Sensory Area can be used as a reward, structured activity, or even as a quiet, relaxing space. You can also try playing calming music, or fun dance music depending on your child’s needs.
The Sensory Area is a great place to experiment with activities that may motivate or calm your child. Be creative and have fun!