To start helping our children identify why they might be feeling the way they do (internally) and to help them learn techniques that will empower them to start address their sensory needs, here is a little cheat list to get things going. Remember that as you start presenting activities, make sure you vocalize why you are doing it so the child can start associating the activities with their needs; for example, "You are running all over the place, we need to slow it down so I need to you to help me do the laundry by unloading the drier and pushing the laundry basket into the living room."
Also, know that as your child starts to develop, you will gain a greater understanding of their sensory needs and be able to implement activities before the child either "shuts down" or "maxes out" and you end up with a child that is having a hard time either focusing or going into a tantrum.
SENSORY DIET: a combination of alerting, organizing, and calming activities.
- Alerting: activities benefit the child who needs a boost to become more aroused.
* Taking a shower
* Bouncing on a large ball
* Jumping up and down on a trampoline or springy surface
* Spinning on a rotary swing
* Sounds: unexpected footsteps, laughter, noises from television
- Organizing: Activities that help regulate and focus a child's response to his/her environment.
* Hanging by the hands from a chin-up bar
* Pushing/pulling and carrying heavy loads (i.e., loaded laundry basket, carrying grocery bags, helping with household chores)
* Getting into an upside-down position
- Calming: Activities that help the child decrease sensory overload.
* Pushing against walls with hands, shoulders, back buttocks and head
* Rocking, swaying, or swinging slowly to and fro (back & forth)
* Cuddling or back rubbing
* Taking a bath
* Sounds: continuous "white noise", such as a ceiling fan
So, next time your child's behavior seems to be on edge, try out one of the tips and see if they respond to it. The more you can help your child figure out how to make their body feel organized and "good," the more the child can become empowered and learn to cope with their individual sensory system.