Sensory Movement Activities

This month, the focus is on all things sensory. Parents report sensory challenges as being one of the biggest stressors in their children’s lives. Hopefully these activities will provide you with a little stress relief, and they are super fun.

1. If you are a parent of a child with autism, a trampoline has most likely been recommended to you somewhere along your journey. This is for good reason. Trampolines are great for helping your child release energy and they provide input to their joints. You may notice that your child is much calmer after jumping on the trampoline. Or, perhaps you notice that when your child is feeling lethargic, bouncing helps wake him up. It’s important to always monitor your child on the trampoline, and also be sure that he knows the rules associated with this activity.

2. A good ole game of tag is awesome for kids. You can work on helping your child understand the concept of a gentle touch. Organized games such as tag also enable your child to work on following rules, promote interactions with other kids, and help your child release physical energy. The rules of tag are pretty easy to follow, but use a visual tool to outline the expectations. I have seen some kids get confused when it is their turn to be tagged. Understanding this concept of turn-taking will take some practice, but the rewards are worth it.

3. Try using an agility ladder and working on your child jumping in the designated spaces. This is not a regular metal ladder, but an actual product used for exercise and movement. Check out the image in this blogpost so you know what I am referring to. There are many activities and fun games that you and your child can do to assist with gross motor skills. Have fun!

4. Social interactions are challenging, and that is why organized sports such as swimming, gymnastics and martial arts can be great for kids with autism. Regardless of your child’s ability to interact with his peers, he can still be successful at certain structured movement activities. For example, with swimming, your child has opportunities to chat and be surrounded by his peers, but he will mainly be focused on his swimming skills.

5. Dancing is another great form of movement. Playing freeze, following motions to a song, or just freely allowing the music to move him are all fun activities. Music enables your child to just be him. There is no right or wrong way to dance. So, turn on some music whenever you can and see where the rhythm takes you both.

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Jennifer Lingle, M.Ed.

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